USAID Launches Community Rural Water and Sanitation Project in Zimbabwe
By Wallace Mawire
A Community Water Supply Sanitation, Hygiene and Natural Resources Management (C-WASH) mobilization project, which seeks to address challenges in the rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Zimbabwe has been launched with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to Zimbabwe’s USAID Mission Director, Ms Stephanie Funk, the project will be implemented by the Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) in collaboration with the former Zimbabwe Applied Health Education and Development (Zim-AHEAD), now transformed to Africa-Ahead due to its continental focus.
According to a statement released at the launch by USAID, rural WASH services in Zimbabwe have suffered from a collapse of maintenance and the impoverishment of communities magnifies the situation.
“Despite significant efforts to develop rural WASH infrastructure, the imbalance between urban and rural services remains distinct, with those without improved drinking water sources living in rural areas and 48% of the rural population practicing open defecation. The resultant disease burden for rural Zimbabweans is heavy and limits economic growth,” USAID said in a statement at the launch.
It is reported that DAPP and Zim-Ahead will jointly implement the rural WASH project targeting four districts in Zimbabwe namely Chimanimani, Mutasa, Chipinge and Nyanga.
Zim-Ahead has reportedly pioneered the health clubs approach to WASH in Zimbabwe whilst DAPP has extensive experience in implementing WASH and other development interventions in the targeted communities.
USAID reports that the project will work in agricultural hubs being funded by the organisation’sZim-AIED programme and the recently launched Feed the Future Zimbabwe (FtFZ).
The project is expected to integrate and complement the Zim-AIED programme and FtFZ with WASH and nutrition related interventions to increase food utilization and decrease malnutrition and diarrheal diseases.
It will also tackle the challenges faced in the communities using community and school platforms through the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure, social behavior change communication and establishing new WASH infrastructure.
Also the cooperating partners hope to formulate community led structures to lead, manage and sustain the initiative. The structures will include community health clubs, school health clubs and water point management committees.
According to USAID, the goal of the project is to improve the health of the targeted communities.Its objectives are to address water and sanitation challenges in the targeted areas as well as to address nutrition, food insecurity including water and soil conservation.
“The project’s expected impacts are to provide 8 000 households and 20 schools with sustainable access to clean and safe drinking water sources and sustainable access to improved sanitation facilities,” USAID said at the launch.