The Sunday Mail
Theseus Shambare in Murehwa
ABOUT 100 households under Chief Mangwende in Murehwa now have access to tap water from a solar-powered borehole provided through a programme by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in partnership with the Government.
The programme seeks to provide clean and safe water, as the fight against waterborne diseases intensifies.
As of Thursday last week, at least 320 cholera cases had been reported, with 21 people having succumbed to the scourge countrywide.
Under the Accelerated Water Improvement, Sanitation and Hygiene (AWISH) project, CRS bankrolled its implementing partner Caritas Harare to upgrade the existing borehole in Mavhurume village from being a manual pump to a solar-powered one.
The borehole now serves all the three surrounding villages with taped water at various access points.
Mavhurume village head, Mr Frank Mavhurume (78), said water problems are now a thing of the past.
“Collecting water used to be a huge burden, especially for someone like me who has become of age.
“We used to go to the river, which is about five kilometres to collect water. Coming back with a bucket full of water was a great challenge.
“We used to drink shallow dam water, but we were always scared that it would cause health problems.
“I think some of the sicknesses that we experienced were a result of the unclean water that we were drinking. We used to share the same water points with livestock.”
The intervention by the Government and its partners, he said, has come as a huge relief for the community. They can now walk a few metres to the nearest water point, which is about 100 meters from each household throughout the village.
Another villager, Ms Vimbayi Shangu (28), said collecting water from the river used to take up much of the time of many women. However, they now have time to do other household chores.
Ms Shangu said it is their first time to have access to tap water in their community. She added that they now have a reliable source of water and will be able to start garden projects.
Anna Mahwira (56), a village health worker said cases of diarrheal diseases were on the rise, and the project had come at the right time.
“Recently, we recorded more cases of diarrhoea and related diseases, due to the poor water usage by villagers.
“It was a huge task to teach people on sanitation and hygiene when they could not access safe water,” said Mahwira.
At least 1 350 people are expected to benefit from the improved water source.
CRS Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) specialist, Mr Edson Nyashanu, said the programme resonates well with the Government’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which aims to offer people easy access to basic needs.
“We realised that, if we are to succeed in terms of development, people can only develop when they have access to safe water as stipulated by our Constitution. We spent US$40 000 to come up with this set up here.
“We are working in partnership with the Government to ensure that we play our part in the achievement of NDS1,” said Mr Nyashanu.
He added: “Here, we upgraded the existing borehole to supply water to the community of Mavhurume, which has got plus or minus 140 households with each, having an average of five people.
“But during the dry season, there are also two other villages that can come and fetch water here.”