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Posts Tagged ‘USAID’

USAID urged to tackle urbanization

May 19, 2010 1 comment

NEW YORK, 19 May 2010 (IRIN) – The dangers of rapid and chaotic urbanization were made obvious in the aftermath of the 12 January earthquake in Haiti as the population of the densely populated capital city was left vulnerable to the disaster’s consequences.

But the superpower to the north has long overlooked the importance of urbanization in its deployment of foreign assistance, according to legislation now being considered by the Senate. The Sustainable Urban Development Act of 2010 – introduced by Sens. Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland), Dick Durban (D-Illinois), and John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) on 20 April – directs USAID to better tackle the problems of enlarging slums, increasing levels of pollution, overburdened transport systems, and lack of affordable housing.

“We all recognize that the 21st century is the century of the city. There is an explosion of urban growth around the globe – already the majority of the world’s population lives in urban areas, with approximately one billion people residing in slums. The phenomenon of urbanization will be ignored at our own peril. Responsible citizens of the world must consciously harness their creativity and ingenuity to increase the livability, economic viability, and environmental sustainability of our cities,” said Kerry, introducing the bill.

“We all recognize that the 21st century is the century of the city. There is an explosion of urban growth around the globe – already the majority of the world’s population lives in urban areas, with approximately one billion people residing in slums. The phenomenon of urbanization will be ignored at our own peril. Responsible citizens of the world must consciously harness their creativity and ingenuity to increase the livability, economic viability, and environmental sustainability of our cities,” said Kerry, introducing the bill.

His point was reinforced at the recent World Economic Forum Africa meeting in Dar es Salaam, when Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT and UN Under-Secretary-General, emphasized that urbanization was one of the key challenges facing the continent. “Africa is urbanizing faster that any other continent, so much so that by 2030, Africa will cease to be a rural continent. Despite this, few African leaders are taking the issue seriously,” she said.

“It is time that policy makers include plans for balanced territorial urban development. This is one of the keys to economic growth especially as investment in infrastructure and housing in African cities provides a great opportunity for the private sector,” she said.

Reversing the trend

William Cobbett, programme manager of the Cities Alliance, told IRIN the bill was significant because it showed the US was prepared to formally recognize the importance of urbanization. He said that in the wake of a “very steady” decline of US aid in this area, he was heartened by the possibility that trend would be reversed.

“I just applaud its existence,” he said of the bill, which he has been sending to colleagues throughout the world as an example of forward-thinking public policy.

The legislation directs the administrator of USAID to update the Making Cities Work Urban Strategy, which has been in existence for almost a decade. It also suggests establishing a senior adviser for urban sustainable development at the agency and launching a “pilot urban strategies initiative” implemented in select cities in the developing world.

A spokeswoman for USAID said the agency would not comment on pending legislation and recommended reviewing the urban programmes in operation.

Scepticism

However, Alanna Shaikh, a global health professional who blogs at UNDispatch.com and other sites, wrote: “The ideas in the legislation are nothing new, and adding another mandatory annual report to an already overburdened agency is just annoying. Not to mention that the legislation doesn’t include any new financial resources; it calls for USAID to support all of this out of its existing budget.

“If Congress really wants USAID to scale up efforts to make urbanization beneficial, then they ought to allocate more money to make that happen. If you want a new focus and new programmes to support it, you need to find new money.”

A congressional aide speaking to IRIN on condition of anonymity countered that the bill was a “first step”. The objective was to “bring about some awareness that this is something that is a priority”. Nothing would assist that process more, he suggested, than a piece of legislation that has passed both houses of Congress and been signed into law by President Barack Obama. Congress would then “put the money where the policy is”, he said.

The legislation, the aide said, can be seen as part of the broader effort to rethink the US approach to development, exemplified by the ongoing Presidential Study Directive on Global Development – conducted by the White House’s National Security Council – and State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.

The bill must first be voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – of which all three Senators are members – before being considered by the full Senate.

Source – IRIN News, May 19, 2010

USAID WASH-UP Project in Ghana

January 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Jan 15, 2009 – Ghana – Water Agency Rescues Slum Dwellers

Water supply and sanitation services remain inadequate in slum settlements, according to the Corporative Housing Foundation (CHF) International, an aid agency. The agency has therefore initiated a three-year program called the Water Access, Sanitation and Hygiene for Urban Poor (WASH -UP) Project.  It began on October 1, 2009 and is expected to end on September 30, 2012. According to Francis Ampadu, Water and Sanitation Specialist of CHF International, the WASH-UP program will increase household access to improved and sustainable drinking water supply, as well as, sanitation facilities.

The program, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is being executed under the African Urban Poor-Improved Water Supply and Sanitation Project. It is targeted at 156,000 people within communities including Nima, Avenor and Ayidiki in Accra, and New Takoradi and Kojokrom in Sekondi Takoradi.

These came to light at a three-day workshop organized for the Avenor, Nima and Ayidiki in Accra from Monday to Wednesday. It was under the theme – Upgrading Lives of Slums Dwellers through Improvements in Water and Sanitation. 

It is estimated that about 5.5million people in Ghana, representing more than half of the urban population live in slum settlement. The informal nature of these settlements hamper water supply to a large extent. The areas also have been identified to have limited access to toilets.  As a result, households in these areas spend significant amounts of time and money to access unhygienic toilets facilities and obtain water at inflated prices.

WASH-UP is therefore aimed at assisting slum communities to improve on their current water and sanitation situation. It seeks to provide equitable access to improved water supply and basic sanitation for residents living in Nima, Avenor and Ayidiki New Takoradi and Kojokrom. WASH-UP is also geared at improving infrastructure and governance and changing behaviours.

Mr Ampadu indicated that the WASH-UP will promote innovative economic enterprises in the areas of water and sanitation; improve hygiene and sanitation behaviours among the urban poor; and strengthen local governance for water supply, sanitation and hygiene services. 

The District Cleansing Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Charles Sintim, told Public Agenda that the AMA was working assiduolosly to get rid of the use of pan latrines in every community by the end of the first quarter of this year.

According to him, the Assembly was ready to prosecute all individuals and households using pan latrines at the end of the quarter. He commended CHF for the project and pledged that the AMA would support the chosen communities with requisite technical know-how and tools to work with to help free the environment from filth.

Source – Public Agenda (Accra)

Categories: Ghana Tags: ,

Clinton visits USAID sponsored toilet projects in Indonesia

February 19, 2009 Leave a comment

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited on Thursday a toilet-provision project sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Petojo Utara in Central Jakarta as part of her two-day visit to Indonesia.

Tempointeraktif.com reported Clinton arrived at the subdistrict after she had met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

During a press conference at the neighborhood Junior High School 38, Clinton said she had planned this brief visit as part of her people-to-people approach to diplomacy.

“Through this kind of interaction, I can find out what the public feels and can encourage them to better their quality of live,” she said.

At 1:30 p.m., she left the subdistrict and headed to Halim Perdanakusuma airport to continue on with her official trips to South Korea and China.

Source – Jakarta Post

Categories: Indonesia Tags: ,

Ethiopia – USAID donates to Urban HIV/AIDS program

December 3, 2008 Leave a comment

Addis Ababa, December 2 (WIC) – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has today donated 22 million USD to support the WFP’s Urban HIV/AIDS program over the next three years.

The contribution would help provide essential food and nutritional support targeting high-priority groups in urban and peri-urban areas who are severely or moderately malnourished.

Receiving the donation WFP Representative and Country Director, Mohammed Diab said the contribution will allow WFP to continue the important work of providing nutritional support to individuals living with, and affected by HIV/AIDS. It would help WFP expand coverage and meet the needs of those who are affected, he added.

USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Glenn Andres said this historic event would further strengthen the collaboration between the United Nations World Food Program and USAID and most importantly, will improve the lives of many people in need of help.

In Ethiopia, USAID and WFP have been partners since 2003 to support the Urban HIV/AIDS Project, reaching and improving the nutritional status and quality of life of food insecure people living with HIV.

Support for the contribution is from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), it was learnt.

Source – waltainfo

Categories: Ethiopia Tags: ,
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