Siangwemu villagers finally access clean water.

By Rutendo Mapfumo

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International Medical Corps has implemented a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project in
rural Binga district.
Communities in rural Zimbabwe struggle to secure access to clean water for domestic use. Many
risk their health by drinking unclean water which they often share with livestock due to the
scarcity of the liquid.
The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee 2022 Report found that Binga district,
which receives an erratic annual average rainfall of about 400 millimeters (15.7 inches), has the
highest proportion in Zimbabwe of households that drink surface water.
Approximately 30 perecent of these households’ only access to water is more than a kilometre’s
walk from home—and these water sources typically dry up between September and December.
The only alternative is for communities to use unprotected and untreated water for their domestic
needs.
Jack Lunga, a pump mechanic and a local resident, who has been working with the local
authority, Binga Rural District Council and District Development Fund, International Medical
Corps said the initiative has been a welcome relief to the community.
“For the past two years, we faced serious challenges when accessing water,”
“We had to travel three kilometers to fetch water from a river. We dug shallow wells on the
riverbed to access water when it was dry season. We then had to share these shallow wells with
livestock, which often polluted the water, making it foul and unsanitary.
“The only alternative surface-water source was in a bushy area, which is infested with wild
animals that are a danger to the women and girls who usually fetch water,” said Lunga.
The WASH project has enabled the community to have a much safer and more reliable access to
clean water, with people now able to access 20 liters per day on average.
“There are fewer cases of diarrhea, especially among children.” International Medical Corps staff
built sustainability measures into its community-based management training, so the community
is equipped to maintaining its new water supply infrastructure. Community members pay water-
use fees to ensure that they can collectively pay for any breakdown, repair or payment to the
pump minder, and works together to keep the waterpoint clean,” he said.
Approximately 750 people relied on old, leaky pipes that were so unsanitary and unreliable that
they may as well have had no water infrastructure at all. The project has replaced the old, leaky
pipes and installed a new lever-action handpump for reliable water access.

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