QUETTA - The European Union (EU) has inked an agreement of Euro 1 million with the Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP) for providing water and sanitation facilities in two districts of the province. EU counselor/head of the operation, Berend de Groot, and BRSP chief Nadir Gul Bareach signed the agreement on behalf of their organisations at a local hotel last night. The signing ceremony was attended by Balochistan Health Minister Ainullah Shams, PHED Additional Secretary Sheikh Muhammad Nawaz, and a number of government officials and representatives of NGOs. The project, Rehabilitation of WATSAN facilities in Balochistan, will serve over 0.4 million people of two districts, Jaffarabad and Zhob, in two years. In his brief speech, Berend de Groot assured the Balochistan government and local NGOs of continuing financial support from the EU for improving the life standard of the poor by providing them with health, water and sanitation facilities. He said that the three-year water and sanitation project, WATSAN, would bring a change in the life standard of the local people. Groot said the EU was working in the province in partnership with the United Nations and local NGOs for provision of water and sanitation facilities that would continue for the next five years. Speaking on the occasion, Gul apprised the participants of the ceremony about his organisations contributions towards uplift activities in the province during the last two decades. He said the BRSP had been providing facilities in the sectors of health, education, water and sanitation, agriculture, livestock and physical structure. He said that the WATSAN project, besides providing water and sanitation facilities, would also help create awareness among the local population about clean drinking water and sanitation. He also thanked the EU for its continued support that had benefited millions of people in Pakistan. PHEDs Muhammad Nawaz said that his department had been always very supportive to projects aiming at ameliorating the life standard of the people, particularly those of far-flung areas. Appreciating the collaboration between the BRSP and PHED in public welfare-oriented projects, he said they had set a unique example of public-private partnership. He hoped that the European-sponsored project would also bring a change in the lives of the poor.