The Chilekeni Community lies near Luansobe in Masaiti District, approximately 70 km South of Ndola, the nearest major city. The area is located in the east of the Copperbelt Province, bordering DRC.
Luansobe is an area of approximately 1,200 sq kms with a population of 37,000 who are mainly subsistence farming families. The average family size is about seven and many families are looking after the HIV/AIDS orphans.
There are no formal water reticulation systems and most people draw water from unprotected hand-dug wells or river-beds often some distance from their home. In a socio-economic survey carried out in 2010, only 43% of the inhabitants reported having access to clean water and often this was at some considerable distance from their homes. 30% of eligible children do not attend primary school and those that do walk an average of 70 minutes to and from school each day.
The current naturally occurring water supply systems have proven insufficient in number and capacity to meet the increased demand for safe water. Many families have resorted to using unsafe water with a consequent increase in the prevalence of water-borne diseases. Other households send women and, usually girls, long distances to fetch water in heavy plastic drums. In both cases there is a drain on household productivity through illness, or through tending to those that are ill, meaning there is less time to engage in more lucrative livelihood activities. Additionally many girls have less time to attend school, thus pushing them into further into the vicious poverty cycle.
Previously, the community walked average distances of 1.5 km from their scattered homesteads to collect unsafe water from the river. This water was professionally tested by the local Environmental Health Officer from the Department of Health for bacteriological contamination. The result revealed that the water was unsafe for potable use; causing water related diseases, but due to lack of alternatives, it was still being used as the main source of drinking water.
The aim of this project was to improve the well-being and health status of the population of the Chilekeni Community. All of the Community were to have access to safe and adequate water, with a local water and sanitation committee with the capacity to maintain and repair the water systems associated with the new borehole.
Conditions for assistance were:
- The formation of a representative Water and Sanitation (Wat-San) committee
- The selection of at least two candidates for borehole maintenance training
- Agreement by the community of the levying of a user fee and the level of fee set
- The collection of an initial user membership fee from all potential users
- The opening of a bank account for depositing the levy
Following the end of the wet season in April 2014, the project team visited the local community of Kantolo in Chilekeni Village several times to start the mobilisation of the community. The official formation of the Water and Sanitation (Wat-San) Committee was created, comprising of 10 local residents chosen by the community (six male and four female). All 10 members of the Chilekeni Wat-San Committee completed borehole maintenance and repair training in early June.
As part of their training, the group pulled up two boreholes at Luiimba Village – these boreholes were originally drilled by the Government of Zambia and another one drilled by ZSIP. The trainees dismounted the two boreholes but they could not reinstate them because one had a worn-out cylinder thread on the bottom of reducer cap. The other one drilled by ZASIP had three riser pipes with worn-out threads. Both communities have being advised to buy new pipes and a cylinder or reducer cap, the Chilekeni group will then install both boreholes later as part of their training.
The trainees were also trained in financial management so that they can manage the funds they collect from the water users. The Chilekeni community have already gathered their capital fund of ZMW1,500 (approx. £200) which has been deposited with Kaloko Zambia who have been asked buy essential borehole spares ready for use.
With the generous funding from First Rate Exchange, a borehole has been installed in the Chilekeni Community. It is now providing safe, clean water to the 161 beneficiaries in the community. This reliable water source and this project will:
- Help the community to thrive, supporting them in breaking out of the cycle of poverty that they are in
- Help 100% of the inhabitants of the Chilekeni Community to now have continuous access to safe water
- Ensure a 60% reduction in reported water and sanitation related diseases after six months (to be ascertained through Rural Health Clinic figures in the future)
- Ensure 80% of the members of Wat-San Committee have the capacity to maintain and repair the borehole and hand-pump
Project Visit: December 2014
The community is now collecting water from varying distances from 10m to at the very most 1 km.
Peter met with Field Mwewa who is Secretary of the WASH Committee. He is 35 years old and has 2 children aged 3 years and 1 month. His family use 60 litres of water a day and his wife makes three trips to collect water, each of 45 minutes, while he looks after the children. He told Peter the location of the pump has halved the time his wife spends collecting water and that they now have no sickness in the family as a result of drinking dirty water.
Peter also met with Foster Borick who is 32 years old. Her husband has left her and she looks after her 5 children on her own. They are aged 10, 8, 4, 2½, and 9 months. The two older children walk 5 km to attend school. She told Peter that her children no longer get diarrhoea and sickness so she is very grateful to have the pump and clean water.
He further reports that the old facility has already nearly dried up and all that remains is a small pond of stagnant water. “It is only pigs that are drinking that type of water”, he says.
He told us that all the people are now drinking the water from the new borehole. He said, “It is by luck that this year the borehole has been drilled otherwise with the pool drying out people would have had to go more than 5 km to find water to drink. Children used to travel along Mpongwe Road which is very busy with vehicles moving at 100 to 140 km/h. This was very dangerous to our children.
Thanks to Just a Drop and First Rate Exchange Services for the wonderful work they have done to drill a borehole adjacent to our homesteads”.
Date of Project: December 2014