Australia Africa Community Engagement Scheme celebrates a notable year
Australian and local Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) are working together in South Africa to improve water, sanitation and hygiene services in KwaZulu-Natal Province.
The 2011-12 Annual Report for the Australia Africa Community Engagement Scheme (AACES) was released this month. The report shows how Australian Government support to NGOs in Africa has increased in recent years with a focus on helping improve peoples’ lives and delivering more opportunities to the most vulnerable and poor - especially women, children, people with disability and people vulnerable to disaster.
Supported by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Oxfam worked with local NGO partners to contribute to the provision of clean water and better sanitation in South Africa. They involved 6000 people in hygiene awareness training and constructed a range of water related infrastructure that is benefitting more than 2000 people. The NGOs have also supported communities and local stakeholders to design and implement water and sanitation facilities to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
The impact of the program is illustrated by the transformation it has brought to previously marginalised community members, particularly women and girls. Before the program, women and girls were often excluded from discussions regarding water allocation and management. The program has promoted local management of natural water sources and supported the inclusion of women in such discussions, so that they have an increasingly strong and effective voice.
Australia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, HE Mr Graeme Wilson, said “I congratulate Oxfam and its implementing partners for the results they have achieved in improving water, sanitation and hygiene for communities in need. I am especially pleased the project is addressing the needs of women and girls. The Australian Government believes that equal opportunity for women is a catalyst for economic growth and reducing poverty.”
As the largest AusAID funded NGO program in Africa, AACES supports development in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Annual Report provides an overview of the program's contribution to food security, maternal and child health and water, sanitation and hygiene.
AusAID provides most of its aid in Africa through partners that are trusted to deliver results. AACES NGOs are encouraged to network and collaborate to achieve greater impact through shared learning and synergies. Delivering funding in this way has helped to improve value for money and improve effectiveness.
Australian High Commission in South Africa