Red Cross intervention eases Binga water woes

ZRCS staff facilitate training for water point committee members at Siansundu Clinic recently. Picture: Moses Mugugunyeki

For the better part of her adult life Sophia Mudimba (78) and many other women in Nduwani 2 village have had to wake up early in the morning to fetch water.

This had been Mudimba’s routine since she got married in Siansundu ward, Binga more than 40 years ago.

She risks her life and that of her grandchildren, who accompany her to a borehole at dawn, as they have to beat the queue to come back home earlier and do other household chores.

Despite their community having endured decades of wildlife attacks which have become part of their daily experiences, Mudimba and fellow villagers have to walk 4,5km to Dadalika borehole to fetch the elusive commodity.

In the dry season, the basin-level water resources in Binga are low which contributes immensely to water scarcity in the area.

“We have no choice because we would need water at home,” she said.

“The situation at our borehole, particularly in the dry season, is dire because the water table would be very low.

“To help the situation we normally ration water for everyone to have their share.”

According to a 2019 UN Women report, in 80% of water-deprived households, women and girls carry the burden of water collection.

This means waking up early in the morning, travelling to distant water points and carrying heavy loads, in some cases with a high risk of violence.

This publication once visited Dadalika borehole at the peak of the dry season where villagers were queuing to fetch water.

“We get water once every day as part of the water rationing where each family is allowed to fetch five buckets,” Cynthia Munkombwe (43), a villager said then.

“You see this water in this bottle; it’s enough for me to bath.

“Our situation only changes when it rains, but with this drought, it’s going to be difficult.”

In the wake of such water challenges in Binga, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) is implementing a Climate Smart Resilience (CSR) project with support from the Finnish Red Cross and Danish Red Cross.

The project which is running until 2025 is meant to contribute to enhanced individual, family, community and institutional resilience through strengthened capacities to cope, resist and endure risks.

About 14 688 people in five wards, Siansundu, Saba, Manjolo, Simatelele and Siachilaba are set to benefit from the project.

“One of our outcomes is to strengthen capacities of targeted communities, and institutions to effectively prepare for, withstand, respond to and recover from climate change induced disasters and crises,” said ZRCS secretary-general Elias Hwenga.

“Siansundu and Saba wards have serious water challenges with the majority of their boreholes being seasonal so the water table reduces, especially from July to November and the water situation stabilises during the rainy season.

“Under this project 12 boreholes (four in Saba and eight in Siansundu) which were prioritised after the water and sanitation assessment were rehabilitated.

“These boreholes were rehabilitated with local pump minders leading the rehabilitation process with technical expertise from district water and sanitation subcommittee members.”

Hwenga said the CSR project has seen his organisation training water points committees.

“The water points are managed by committees, which need to be capacitated to better manage their water sources,” he said.

“The committee is made up of 10 people that include chairperson (and vice), secretary (and vice), treasurer, two caretakers, village head, pump minder and village health worker with 60% of the committee being women.

“The idea of training water points’ committee members is to capacitate communities so that they become effective in the management of their water points while at the same time assisting communities to come up with action plans for the sustainability of their water points.”

Mike Munkombwe, a water point committee member, who was attending training told Southern Eye on Sunday that the capacity building training was necessary.

“The training is important in some way since we gain knowledge and basic skills on the operation and maintenance of our water points,” he said.

“We are also being trained to ensure that our communities are self-organised and able to manage, plan and maintain our water points.”

Munkombwe said his community was among the hardest hit by water challenges, especially in the dry season.

“We are happy that the Red Cross chipped in and rehabilitated some of the boreholes in the ward,” he said.

“Our boreholes dry up from around July to November, so we have to ration water.

“The borehole also supplies water to the secondary school, clinic, shopping centre and villagers.

“Imagine what happens in the dry season, it’s so difficult.

“The Red Cross rehabilitation eased the water woes, but for a long-term solution we need to draw water from the Zambezi.”

Hwenga said the Red Cross was working with other organisations to facilitate the drawing of water from the Zambezi.

“We are exploring such; but I understand that there are some organisations already working with Zinwa to rehabilitate pipes that draw water from the Zambezi,” he said.

“As Red Cross we want to chip in and maybe assist in bringing piped water to those villages in dire situations.”

Binga is in the semi-arid region, which is agro ecological region V usually characterised by hot temperatures and poor rainfall.

Related Topics