|‘Wash’ brings hope to rural folk|
|Thursday, 05 July 2012 10:47|
FAILURE to access clean and safe water for domestic use is not only peculiar to the overcrowded dormitory town of Chitungwiza or the 2009 cholera epicentre of Budiriro, but is even worse in remote rural areas.
In villages such as Siyaphambili in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North Province, the success of a family is measured by construction of a simple latrine. In the village only one out of the 85 households has a toilet.
Occurrence of cholera or typhoid in this village is not prevalent by grace, but should the bacteria be imported from other areas the outbreak would be disastrous as the same villagers rely on shallow wells along Gwayi River for drinking water.
The wells are not more than two metres both in depth and circumference.
Mr Mpala, who has been in the community since 1963, said education is the only way his community can be rescued from the sorry state his village is facing.
Tsholotsho District Administrator Ms Nosizi Dube said the water and sanitation situation was even worse in districts farthest from the centre where people take turns with animals to quench their thirst
“When the villagers get the water in some cases it would have been disturbed by animals, so they wait for it to settle before they fill their containers,” she said.
“The last time we had a partner who assisted with borehole drilling, there were so many things expected of us and we ended up going for the nearest districts with regards to implementation,” Ms Dube said.
As of 2009, the district which has a projected population of about 150 000 had 587 of the 930 boreholes functional and the situation is likely to be worse now.
percent of the urban population. There is further discrepancy in the provision of adequate sanitation as 69 percent of rural households do not have improved toilet facilities and of these households, 39 percent practise open defecation.
“In an area where open defecation is a common phenomenon, it is not advisable for people to rely on unprotected water sources as these wells are prone to contamination,” Unicef Wash officer Mr Stewart Nyamuranda told journalists during a tour of Siyaphambili village. He said in such scenarios, human excreta could be washed down to the wells or the water is contaminated by flies or through seepage.
The only approved world standard source of drinking water in rural areas is a borehole.
About 2,4 million people from these districts are expected to benefit from the programme codenamed Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash).
Realising this critical need for improved water and sanitation facilities in most rural areas, DFID will release US$50 million for rural Wash. This programme was officially launched this week at Mkubazi Primary School in Tsholotsho and will be implemented by Unicef over the next four years.
“It also reduces burdens which mount on women and girls in rural areas who are the main collectors of water,” Unicef representative Dr Peter Salama said.
In fact, 70 percent of Zimbabwe’s population lives in rural areas.