37 years no toilets, clean water

SIAKOBVU - Fairly abundant vegetation in Siakobvu area in Kariba — about 500km north-west of Harare deep in Mashonaland West province — does not only serve as wind break or source of cheap fuel in this part of the country but also as ‘‘ablution facilities’’ to villagers.

This has seen the area which falls in Natural Region 5, characterised by high temperatures and low rainfall patterns, being heavily polluted with human waste posing a health hazard to the villagers.

Taurai Nyambo, environmental health technician told the Daily News there was need for behaviour change in the area.

“It was just that villagers were so comfortable in using bush toilets. Here, some chose to construct six-roomed modern houses but ignoring latrines. There is need for behaviour change,” Nyambo said.

Owing to lack of toilets in Siakobvu, villagers have been prone to diarrheal diseases such as dysentery, cholera and typhoid among others.

As a way of reducing health disasters in the area, leading humanitarian organisation Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) has embarked on construction of toilets in most affected clusters that is Kasiya and Mangwara.

A cluster is made up of at least three villages.

“We have approximately 2 198 households in Kasiya cluster but only 238 toilets were erected thanks to ZRCS.

“We feel Red Cross’ efforts are not enough considering we are looking for about 1 000 toilets to be constructed under the initiative,” Nyambo said.

“However, we need to applaud the ZRCS for spearheading development in the area. Since the commencement of toilets-building in the area, we are happy that diarrheal diseases have reduced by 30 percent.”

One of the beneficiaries of the project was ecstatic about the health transformation that was taking place in their area.

“Since I was born 35 years ago, I started using the toilet this year (2017) hence Red Cross should be applauded for bringing sanity to our area,” Chenjerai Masaba said.

Apart from building toilets in the area, ZRCS also transformed the area through improving access to clean water mainly in Mavuramachena cluster.

“Though we used to have 22 boreholes in 25 villages, they were not enough hence some of us ended up relying on unprotected water bodies.

“It was a ticking time bomb but Red Cross has facilitated the construction of 34 protected wells in the ward,” said Mamvuramachena focal person Goodwell Jakarasi.

The ZRCS was equally happy with the progress made in this part of the country so far.

“Our programmes are not an imposition by the Red Cross to communities but are community owned.

“The challenges, including lack of water and sanitation, toilets, clean safe water sources, were identified by the community as a priority through a Vulnerability Capacity Assessment as we sought to build better resilient communities.

“The projects allow the communities to champion their own resilience, by determining the solutions to the priority risks that face them and we continue to be responsive to the felt and expressed needs by the communities,” ZRCS secretary-general Maxwell Phiri said.

“The support is also extended to the district level, through training that enhances preparedness and response of the District Civil Protection Committee.”

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