National Sanitation Policy

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Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development
The National Sanitation Policy has been under development since December 2005. It has been developed by the Sanitation Core Team (SCT), an inter-departmental group of middle ranking and senior staff from the Ministries of Irrigation and Water Development, Health, Education, Gender, Child Welfare and Community Development, Natural Resources (Dept. of Environmental Affairs), Lands and Housing and Survey, Agriculture and Food Security, and Local Government and Rural Development. Over four months the SCT has researched the hygiene and sanitation situation in Malawi, visiting rural and urban communities in the North, South and Central Regions as well as in the cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre and Karonga Town. A series of four reports from this research has been produced, with the following titles: 1. Sanitation in Malawi's Rural Areas 2. Sanitation in the Cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre 3. Sanitation in Malawi's Towns 4. Sanitation in Schools in Malawi In the rural areas the SCT has paid special attention to the differences between villages where sanitation projects have been active and where there have been no projects, in order to assess both the effectiveness of project approaches and to learn lessons for the creation and formulation of the rural part of the Policy. In the towns and cities the SCT visited and researched with communities in peri-urban areas, urban slums and traditional housing areas. The SCT has worked in partnership with staff from district, city and town assemblies, water boards, hospitals, schools, prisons, NGOs as well as with householders and community members. Thanks and acknowledgements are due to all those who took part and were open and honest in casting light on shortcomings and opportunities that they saw in the sanitation sector. It is only through such transparency that solutions can be found and a useful and practical National Sanitation Policy formulated for a better life for all Malawians, Umoyo Wabwino! The National Sanitation Policy is important because it will help to shape the development of Malawi for years to come. So far there has been no single sanitation policy in Malawi. Various pieces of legislation, some dating back to the colonial period, have been used to guide sanitation development in Malawi. Many of these are now antiquated and irrelevant to the future development of the Country and a single policy is now needed to give guidance to all, from Government departments to householders in rural and urban communities, from local government to NGO's and international donors, on just what Malawi feels it needs in the hygiene and sanitation sector to take it forward in the 21st Century to reach its 2020 Vision. Namely: "by the year 2020, Malawi as a God-fearing nation, wilt be secure, democratically mature, environmentally sustainable, self reliant with equal opportunities for active participation by all, having social services, vibrant cultural and religious values and a technologically driven middle-income economy"1 The Policy will enhance the capacity of Malawi to meet its commitments to reach its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving the number of people who do not have access to basic sanitation by 2015, it will also go further by helping to empower the people of Malawi to achieve universal access to improved sanitation by 2020.