USAID Southern Africa and OKACOM Jointly Launch the Resilient Waters Program in Angola

Speeches Shim

Thursday, October 24, 2019
From left: OKACOM Executive Secretary Phera Ramoeli, OBSC Commissioner Carolino Mendes, Vice Governor of the Cuando Cubango Province, Dr Sara Luísa Mateus and USAID Southern Africa Natural Resources Management Specialist Jeanette Normand.


The Permanent Okavango River Basin Commission (OKACOM) and USAID Southern Africa jointly launched USAID’s Resilient Waters Program in Angola Menongue on September 24th, 2019. The launch was held on the back of a Republic of Angola Ministry of Energy and Water half-day workshop on general water resource regulation. The launch brought together 45 local stakeholders from Luanda and Menongue including representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Water (as well as Vice Governor of the Cuando Cubango Province, Dr Sara Luísa Mateus), community-based organizations (CBOs) - such as ACADIR, Halo Trust, and National Geographic, representatives from the Kavango Zambesi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), and  members of the Okavango River Basin Commission Steering Sommittee (OBSC). 

The purpose of the launch was to introduce the Resilient Waters Program to the political and administrative leadership of the Cuando Cubango Province (with a view to highlight linkages between the Resilient Waters Program and the OKACOM Strategic Action Plan for the Cuando Cubango Province ofAngola). Secondly, Resilient Waters aimed to facilitate the establishment and initiation of Resilient Waters Program interventions in partnership with OKACOM, and to engage with key stakeholders and partners currently implementing related activities in Angola with a view to synergise. There was buy in and interest from the stakeholders in attendance, especially from Gabinete para a Administração da Bacia Hidrográfica do Rio Cunene (GHABIC),the Angolan authority responsible for the management of the Kunene River Basin, who are looking forward to working closely with Resilient Waters to plan activities together to, inter alia, uplift the livelihoods of local communities by providing improved and safe access to water and sanitation services. Some of the issues highlighted for intervention include focussing efforts on reaching communities on the ground, learning from the lessons learnt from previous programs, and resuscitating the Community Basin Wide Forum within the Cubango-okavango River Basin (CORB).

Local community traditional dancers performing at the opening the networking reception of the Resilient Waters Program launch. Credit: USAID/Angola
Local community traditional dancers performing at the opening the networking reception of the Resilient Waters Program launch.

The Resilient Waters Program focuses on water resource management between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, linked to plant and wildlife conservation. The program is cooperating with Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) structures, such as the River Basin Organizations and Transfrontier Conservation Areas, to achieve the aims of the program, and to build resilience and water security in Southern Africa. OKACOM is one of the institutions supported by the Resilient Waters Program. The commission is the technical advisor to the Member States of Angola, Botswana, and Namibia “on matters relating to the conservation, development and utilization of water resources of common interest” to the Member States. Both Resilient Waters and OKACOM have been working on aligning their action plans, to carry out the implementation of activities in the Okavango River Basin.

Angola, which is within the footprint area of the Resilient Waters Program, faces significant challenges around access to improved water and sanitation facilities. According to the United Nations Children’s Agency 44% of people in Angola lack access to clean water. In Addition, poor sanitation and hygiene remains the main cause of infectious diseases. In her remarks at the launch, Dr Sara Luísa Mateus encouraged the Resilient Waters Program to provide support on and to implement activities in Angola that will assist to address poverty eradication, water supply, and sanitation.

One of the Resilient Waters Program objectives is to increase access to safe, sustainable drinking water and sanitation. Going forward Resilient Waters Program will collaborate with OKACOM, International Cooperating Partners (ICPs), NGOs and community groups, and other partners in Angola to produce interventions that will address natural resource management, water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges.


USAID Resilient Waters is a five-year, $32 million project implemented by Chemonics International. Its goal is to build more resilient and water secure Southern African communities and ecosystems through improved management of trans-boundary natural resources and increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation services.