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Zimbabwe: African Well Fund repairs broken wells and sanitation systems serving 2,000 ©

By Aimee Powell

Easy access to a seemingly unlimited supply of clean water is something the developed world takes for granted.  In many of the world’s developing nations, however, obtaining safe water for the household is anything but easy, and often impossible.

This problem is particularly pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa, where women and children must walk up to ten miles every day to obtain a single day’s supply of water for the household. In areas where a safe water source is not available, this water comes from rivers, lakes, ponds – even puddles.

Since its inception in 2002, the African Well Fund has sought to make clean water more accessible to those Africans living in areas of high need. Funds donated to the African Well Fund in previous years have been used by African Well Fund’s partner organization Africare to build water wells and well springs in areas throughout Uganda and Angola.

2006 Project Concentrates on Zimbabwe

Funds received during 2006 fundraising efforts will be used by Africare to implement a 9-month Integrated Community Water and Sanitation project to 2,000 beneficiaries in one rural ward of Gokwe South district in Zimbabwe. The goal of the project is to rehabilitate broken down water points in the targeted ward while ensuring maintenance of all the boreholes. An additional goal is to improve the sanitary conditions through increasing toilets in the target wards.

A significant amount of work on the development of rural water and sanitation was done by the Government of Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Water, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, during the first two decades after Zimbabwe won its independence in 1980. However, much work still needs to be done in this sector in order to consolidate the gains that have been made. In the recent past, budget allocations for the water and sanitation sector have been dwindling because of the poor performance of the national economy.

High child mortality rate from water-borne diseases

High morbidity and mortality rates among children under five in Zimbabwe in general and Gokwe South in particular are mainly due to water-borne diseases such as gastroenteritis, diarrhea, malaria, amoebic dysentery, bilharzia and cholera (personal communication).

Unsanitary human waste disposal is a major cause of water-related diseases in the area: In Gokwe South, about 51% of the population discreetly defecate in the bush. Children tend to defecate anywhere. Human feces are often highly contaminated by disease agents, which are then transmitted to the community by runoff and flies. The disposed excreta flows into the unsafe drinking water points (unprotected water points including streams).

Making the problem worse, persons in the community only seek health care when it is absolutely necessary. Often, the disease will have reached its final stages by the time health care is sought. This delay in obtaining the health care is primarily due to either economic hardships or lack of public transport.

The overall goal of the project is to improve healthy living conditions for persons living in one rural ward of Gokwe South district. We hope to accomplish this by providing clean water, encouraging the growth of household nutrition gardens, improved sanitation facilities and hygiene education.

2006 Goals

The proposed 2006 project will achieve the following objectives:

  • Provide 2,000 beneficiaries with safe, clean and adequate water for domestic use through rehabilitation of 10 boreholes, 10 shallow wells and one deep well.
  • Reduce water point breakdowns by at least 50% through formation and capacity building of water point committees and provision of maintenance kits.
  • Improve sanitation facilities and school attendance through provision of block grants to two schools for construction of improved ventilated pit latrines.

About 2,000 people will have access to clean drinking water from the four rehabilitated and 20 boreholes through improved servicing. The project, with community involvement, will assist in the construction of 30 improved ventilated latrines. About 25% of the target beneficiaries for toilets will be HIV/AIDS affected households.

The project will encourage community participation in water management and maintenance and repair kits will be provided to ensure sustainable upkeep of the water points. As in past projects, Africare personnel will monitor the project, provide technical support, and administer the funds.

The proposed project will utilize approximately $50,000 in donations received by the African Well Fund, including $35,000 received to date in 2006 and additional funds as raised through the remainder of the year.

Aimee Powell is a past board member of the African Well Fund.

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U2 fans make a difference in Uganda and Angola

Past African Well Fund projects in Uganda and Angola have benefited thousands. In Uganda alone, more than 13,000 individuals have seen the construction of wells, shallow wells, and spring tanks in their areas.  The improvement to the lives of people living in these areas is immeasurable.

Mzee Kompororo, an elderly teacher living in Ntungamo, commented at the opening of the Kikoni Shallow Well: "I personally taught President Museveni in class and have seen generations pass but have never got access to such clean source of water, near enough for me and my old wife, who can no longer even walk from the house without support. Thanks for this selfless gift. This water has breathed fresh life in me."

This sentiment is echoed by Margaret Tumwesigye, a social worker from the area: “[W]hat you have actually done is that you have enabled the women to have more time to develop their homes since they get water nearby, they can now have time to think of income generating activities and they can send their children to school. You have also helped in reducing the co-factors in the transmission of HIV/AIDS…”

The African Well Fund was formed in 2002 by a group of U2 fans inspired by Bono’s trip to Africa earlier that year. To date, the organization has raised more than $190,000 to fund the construction and maintenance of water wells in Africa. More information about the group and its ongoing projects can be found at our web site: www.africanwellfund.org

African Well Fund July 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 
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