Yeukai Tazira recently in Muzarabani
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) is spearheading a number of projects in Chiwenga ward 24, Muzarabani North that has seen the construction of a classroom block as well as the provision of safe and reliable water to the community.
The projects are in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) whose thrust is to improve infrastructure as part of efforts to attain Vision 2030 of becoming an upper-middle-income economy.
Chiwenga Primary School is situated on the border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, serving some learners from across the border in Tete Province.
The school has an enrolment of 703 pupils.
School Head Mr Francis Chirunga expressed gratitude for the ZRCS support, saying infrastructural development at the school will help the school in many ways.
“Previously, examination candidates had to endure long and tedious walks of up to 40km to Chadereka to write final Grade 7 examinations because this school did not meet the Zimsec exam centre requirements,” Mr Chirunga said.
“Physical planners and Local Government and Public Works Ministry officials were here recently and were satisfied with our progress and possibly we could be an examination centre this year.”
He said about 75 pupils will write Grade 7 examinations this year.
Mr Chirunga said the number of teaching staff has also increased lately, thanks to the projects being implemented by the ZRCS.
“One of the biggest challenges that we had was water and the school did not retain qualified teachers as they left citing water shortages,” he said.
“Our staff had to compete with animals for water in Mukumbura River and other unprotected sources of water. There was no safe water to talk about here and teachers would leave.”
The school has a staff complement of 11 teachers.
Mr Chirunga said the school is establishing a garden and a fish farming project.
“We want to utilise the water and have sustainable projects like a garden and do fish farming,” he said.
“Most of our staff was trained in fish farming and we hope to put that training into good use since we now have a reliable source of water.”
Meanwhile, a water supply was connected to Chiwenga which has one of the biggest catchment areas, serving patients from as far as 48km away including some who come from Mozambique.
Apart from the water project, ZRCS also constructed an expecting mothers’ waiting shelter at the clinic.
“We have noted a sharp decrease in cases of diarrhoea and dysentery diseases in the area since the inception of this water project in 2017,” said Sister Vimbai Muguti, the nurse-in-charge at the clinic.
“The community used to fetch water from Mukumbura River, which is the same source of water that is used for washing clothes, bathing and brick-making.”
She said the expecting mothers’ waiting shelter will go a long way in addressing issues of home deliveries as well as reducing maternal mortality in the area.
ZRCS is implementing the projects with support from the Finnish Red Cross.