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Humans · Economy

Water and sanitation for rural Zimbabwe

September 28th, 2016
in:Humans, Economy
by:Rosemary Musvipwa
located in:Zimbabwe
tags:SDG, Water Facility Programme, Zimbabwe

The worldwide goal of water and sanitation for all has been set, and in Zimbabwe efforts are being made to inch closer to that target, especially in rural areas.

Innovative community-led and community-owned approaches are fast arising as culturally sensitive, easy-to-use and cost-effective ways of improving hygiene and sanitation are being developed.

As noted by Inhabitat, at any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by those suffering from illnesses brought on by limited access to safe drinking water, poor hygiene and sanitation.

Niras Consulting, which specialises in rural development, observes that: “Due to the increasing occurrence of water stress and scarcity, increasing variations and uncertainties in weather patterns, deterioration in water quality and the mismanagement of water, there is an urgent demand for innovative technologies, approaches and solutions“.

There are many technologies that are being developed to enable easier access to water and to ensure better standards of hygiene.

In Gokwe, a rural town in Zimbabwe, there has been an introduction of a new foot-operated hand-washing device which is an upgraded version of a tippy-tap. The originator of the mechanism, Petros Mazvi, improved on the design of the tippy-tap by not only including a foot pedal to prevent contamination of the tap sink, but also added a spring which helps people to open and close the jerry can without having to touch anything.

“I had the opportunity to learn about the tippy-tap and based on the experience I had in metal work, I realised I could do something different,” explained Mazvi.

The hand-washing device made by Mazvi includes a 25 litre jerry-can for water and makes use of metal frames rather than the usual wooden frames used for the ordinary tippy tap. This has helped to cut back on having to constantly refill the container as well as replacing wooden components frequently. The model is a low cost technology that has been used to promote hand-washing behaviour in communal places and reducing the incidences of diarrheal diseases. The upgraded hand-washing device costs between US$45 and US$55 for a unit. It has become popular in public places such as eating points, mass gatherings, sporting facilities, schools and other institutions.

The model has been used to promote better attitudes, beliefs and knowledge about the positive consequences of hand-washing.

On a different note, Niras also encourages the participation of communities in rural development projects, emphasising that: “Community-based management of natural resources is key to ensuring sustainability and equal access”. 

In Gwanda, rural communities such as Garanyemba Ward 13 joined forces with Dabane Trust Water Workshops under the European Union-funded Water Facility Programme, to find creative solutions in curbing the problem of access to clean, safe and palatable water.

In a bid to develop a system of sustainable water sources, the community contributed their labour and paid monthly subscriptions which saw the construction of the Pendi Bridge sand abstraction system clean water point.

The water point has the basic technology of a Joma pump which can be accessed by more than 37 Garanyemba households, a primary school and secondary school, as well as the Garanyemba Business Centre with 12 separate business enterprises also benefitting from the water point.

The Pendi Bridge water point has led to the improved availability and accessibility of clean water. The burden of fetching water for daily usage, which falls squarely on the shoulders of women and girls, has been lightened as the 60 litres of water they used to travel long distances to access each day has been increased to about 120 litres per day. The water point now serves as their source for livestock drinking water and domestic use, including drinking water, washing and personal hygiene.

One of the girls from the Garanyemba primary school said the water point was a treasure as she and her companions now spend less time seeking water from open wells.

“We used to spend more time fetching water than we did on learning. Since we got the water point things have changed for the better because we spend only a few minutes filling up our buckets. We have more time to focus on our studies,” said a relieved Sifiso Tshabangu.

In line with sustainable development goal number 6, there needs to be a system to support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.

Under a $33 million fund provided by Britain, the government of Zimbabwe and non-governmental organisations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Africare, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Australian Agency for International Development, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation initiated a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme.

The rural WASH programme has been targeted at 14 small towns namely Bindura, Chipinge, Chiredzi, Chivhu, Gokwe, Gwanda, Hwange, Karoi, Mutoko, Mvurwi, Plumtree, Rusape, Shurugwi and Zvishavane. Besides offering support and funds for innovative projects such as the handwashing device designed by Mazvi, the government and its implementing partners is involved in the improvement of rural lives through the construction of new boreholes, the repair/ rehabilitation of water, delivering piped water to communities and the construction of household latrines.

Article written by:
Rosemary Musvipwa
Author
Current Map: Our coverage
Half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by those suffering from illness brought on by limited access to safe drinking water, poor hygiene and sanitation.
In Gwanda, rural communities joined forces with Dabane Trust Water Workshops under the European Union funded Water Facility Programme, to find creative solutions in curbing the problem of access to clean, safe and palatable water.
Besides offering support and funds for innovative projects, the government and its implementing partners is involved in the improvement of rural lives through the construction of new boreholes, the repair/ rehabilitation of water, delivering piped water to communities and the construction of household latrines.

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