In June 2008 the Drinking Fountain Association most generously donated £500 towards the work of Village Water; providing wells, sanitation equipment and hygiene education to rural communities in Zambia.
I am writing to provide the trustees with a report of the work undertaken by Village Water as a result of this donation.
In the 2007/08 United Nations Human Development Report, Zambia was ranked 165th out of 177 countries in the Human Development Index. The main causes of death, apart from HIV/AIDS, are infectious diseases that are entirely preventable or easily treatable. Disease coupled with economic challenges, food shortages and lack of access to clean water and sanitation, has left over half of Zambian children suffering from malnutrition.
The donation made by the Drinking Fountain Association was used as a contribution towards the cost of a well and sanitation programme in Mambwa in the Western Province of Zambia. This well is currently benefiting 200 people. The residents of Mumbwa are excited to have the new well. You will see the picture I have included of the children of the village. Before the well was installed they walked for two hours each day with their mothers to collect dirty water from a small open waterway.
The main house you can see in the pictures shelters the new water well & pump from the weather and wandering animals. The annexe you can see protects the surplus water soakaway where they will plant a banana tree. To the other side of the main house is a pots & pans drying rack for use when washing up after cooking and eating.
The village now, as well as having a well and sanitation equipment, has formed a Water & Sanitation Committee. Every working adult is paying 10 pence (in local currency) per month to ensure the well is maintained for perpetual use.
Once the well was put in place, the Community-Led Total Sanitation Programme took place. Villagers were educated in good hygiene practice and shown the benefits of self-help sanitation. Following on from this, with Saturday as a designated workday, villagers were shown how to dig their own pit latrines (toilets) and build hand washing stands. In addition community workers were able to show the villagers how to make and erect vegetable and plate racks to keep cooking utensils, dinner plates and food off the ground – and away from village dogs. Likewise, the families were taught to dig refuse disposal pits and build bath shelters to encourage washing.
To ensure sustainability after installation, two villagers were trained to safely and effectively carry out all basic maintenance on the well. To complement this, a local Pump Minders, who is able to fix more technical problems, looks after the village well. The monthly subscription fee, set up by the villagers when the well is installed, pays for any repairs.
Plentiful supplies of clean water and sanitation equipment have show immense, long-lasting effects
Children can wash regularly – avoiding the diseases caused by insufficient water.
Families no longer go hungry as the water grows plentiful supplies of nourishing food.
Families can produce two or three crops per year instead of the one crop enabled by the natural climate. Any extra food can be sold at local markets to pay the school fees of the village children.
With the support of the Drinking Fountain Association in collaboration with Village Water, the villagers of Mambwa have now been given the tools to lift themselves out of poverty.