You are here: Home Knowledge Base Environment Preparing for the Blue Revolution Implementations CARE Water and Sanitation in Zimbabwe
Symposium 2009

Implementation - CARE Water and Sanitation in Zimbabwe

The Challenge

Water shortages are cropping up around the world – from Australia to South Africa, from Brazil to the Sahel. Many of the world’s mightiest rivers run dry before reaching the sea. Perhaps half th ...

Water shortages are cropping up around the world – from Australia to South Africa, from Brazil to the Sahel. Many of the world’s mightiest rivers run dry before reaching the sea. Perhaps half the world’s wetlands have been damaged or destroyed in the past century as salt water has displaced fresh water. These facts are striking, in view of the fact that the world’s population withdraws less than a tenth of the water that falls to the ground and that – unlike our fossil fuels – the world’s water supplies cannot be used up.

The strategic goal of CARE's Water and Sanitation program is to enhance poor communities through equitable access, efficient use and sustainable management of limited and dwindling water resources.

CARE also places emphasis on women in all its water work because impoverished women are disproportionately excluded from decisions regarding water's allocation and management. CARE provides women with equal decision-making power by including them in discussions on water and sanitation on the local, municipal and state levels. Women have more time for income-generating projects and school when they are not spending hours each day hauling water. Access to safe water results in women spending less time caring for family members who would otherwise fall sick due to unsafe water. Also, improved sanitation can keep a girl in school by making facilities available to her when she reaches puberty.[1]

Success story

Until recently, Susan Magura, a mother of five, had to walk four and a half hours every day to get water in the nearest river. She would carry three 20-litre containers in a wheel barrow, with her 22-year old daughter helping to lug a container by herself.

CARE Water and Sanitation in ZimbabweSusan could only collect 160 liters of water for her family to use each day. And even then, the water was not safe for them to drink. If the river was dry, or she could not walk the distance one day, Susan was reduced to digging a pit in the riverbed to collect dirty ground water. "It’s hard to comprehend, but there’s nothing you can do and there’s nothing to help your children when they are sick because you have no resources." "Many people in my community would get sick," she says.

Last year, CARE repaired a broken borehole near Susan’s home. She now has an abundance of safe, clean water that is 4 kilometers from her home. She still spends over an hour and a half walking each trip, but the water is clean, safe and there is no shortage. It is a resource that the community is proud to own and maintain themselves.

Andrew Madzore is the secretary of the committee that maintains the borehole that Susan and 2,400 other people access every day. "We laid down some rules to look after the borehole," he explains. "We ask people to use it properly and keep its durability."

Andrew is proud of the difference that this borehole has had on his family and his community, and is passionate about maintaining it for prolonged use in the future. "When the borehole was not working well, the situation was horrible. We had problems with diseases from drinking from unprotected sources. Especially the kids, they would get water from the river and they would encounter bad problems."

That is unlikely to happen again, as the borehole should work seamlessly for at least five years before needing repair work. When it does require maintenance, the committee is able to complete many tasks themselves and the fees paid by those who break the community's borehole rules will help to pay for any additional parts or labor costs.

The borehole committee has played a part in improving another fundamental part of the community-gender equality. Of the seven members, four are women and the group is encouraged to include and promote the concerns of women in the broader community.

After learning about gender equality through the committee training, collecting water is now a shared responsibility in Andrew’s home, which he explains is filled with his three boys and loving wife. "My wife is a teacher at the secondary school, so we normally come here in the morning together to get water and again in the afternoon," he says.

For Susan, the committee is ensuring that she spends less time walking, and less time worrying about her children being sick. "I am very happy now there is safe water at the borehole. As a community, we are also learning how to look after it. We also know how to pump the water and how not to contaminate it. Now I hope that my children can grow up in good health so that they can perform well in school."



[1] http://www.care.org/careswork/whatwedo/health/water.asp

 

Source: Material provided by CARE Germany

    Related Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Foster more bottom-up, collective water action, and community level governance approaches.

    Foster more bottom-up, collective water action, and community level governance approaches.

    Foster more bottom-up, collective water action, and community level governance approaches.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Facilitate women’s access to water and enhance their participation in the development and implementation of water management strategies in poor countries.

    Facilitate women’s access to water and enhance their participation in the development and implementation of water management strategies in poor countries.

    Facilitate women’s access to water and enhance their participation in the development and implementation of water management strategies in poor countries.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society