In April 2013, work began in Kauwe Basic School to provide an accessible, clean and safe water source to the 800 children at the school who face unimaginable hardships; and at Mukuni Health Centre to provide two double pit VIP latrines (four stances in total) and a sluice to benefit the whole community.
The project was implemented by Just a Drop’s local partner The Butterfly Tree, and was sponsored by Epsom College Leavers 2012.
The projects were urgent because the school could have faced closure if a reliable, clean and safe supply of water had not been made available. Furthermore, the Health Centre had no functioning latrines, which posed a serious health threat to the patients and the community.
Kauwe Basic School
Kauwe Basic School has over 800 school pupils enrolled alongside 16 teachers and their families. Ranging in age from 5-20 years, many who attend this school live in remote villages and have to walk long distances, through the bush and along dusty dirt roads to school. Their energy levels are low because of this, especially as many only eat one meal of maize a day.
These vulnerable children live below the poverty line and all of this is exacerbated by them living in an area where one in six adults are living with HIV and where Malaria is prevalent all year round.
Before this project there was no access to safe clean water near the school. Diarrhoeal diseases and Bilharzia were common as the children drew their drinking water from a dirty, unsafe stream, which was also used for washing clothes and was shared with livestock.
In the dry season the water often became stagnant and at times it would completely dry up so the pupils would have to search elsewhere for water with the nearest borehole being eight kilometres away. All of this impacted on their attendance, their health, their energy and their concentration levels in class.
The round trip to Kauwe Basic School from The Butterfly Tree base at Mukuni Village is 374 kilometres, 218 kilometres of this is over rugged terrain roads which can reduce travelling speeds to as low as 20km/hr for most of the way. This area poses a much greater challenge for large vehicles such as drilling rigs and during this project the nearby community had to help open up portions of the road that otherwise were not crossable.
Furthermore, during the rainy season these roads become completely impassable and this difficulty often deters potential supporters from delivering work in these areas because it can be extremely difficult, time consuming and expensive. However, it is places like Kauwe that Just a Drop, together with local partner Butterfly Tree, targets to provide much needed assistance.
Due to the issues with the roads, the drilling rig got stuck on the way to the site and so drilling was delayed. However, with the help of the nearby community, the machines eventually reached the site. After successfully drilling the borehole, the pump was installed and the school provided stones for moulding the concrete base and excess run off.
Even with all the challenges the project was successfully completed and is already making a huge difference to the lives of the children at the school.
With the generous funding from Epsom College Leavers, a borehole has been installed at Kauwe Basic School and is now providing safe, clean water to 800 school pupils, teachers and their families. This reliable water supply will enable the school to remain open and therefore continue to offer much needed education to the children of the area , helping them to break out of the cycle of poverty they are in.
It is also hoped that the performance of pupils will improve now that there is a close water source. They will be able to spend more time in class as they no longer have to walk to the stream, or even further afield in the dry season.
The project has given the children access to safe, clean water which will reduce water-borne illnesses, diseases and the tragic and avoidable related deaths that come as a consequence of these.
The water source will also provide an opportunity to initiate a sustainable feeding programme, which will particularly benefit children walking to school. Seeds will be provided for the school to have a garden for growing maize and vegetables. The scheme may draw people from outreach villages and therefore increase school enrollment. The aim of the school garden, is to eventually become an income-generating activity to provide funds for the school which will benefit the children.
A water user committee has been established to educate the community on how to look after the water facility as well as on good hygiene practice. The community agreed that maintenance funds would be collected through school fees. Training has also been provided by the local council, the drilling company, The Butterfly Tree and an environmental officer from the Ministry of Health. Furthermore, water quality will also be periodically tested by a Ministry of Health Environmental Officer.
To avoid damage fencing has also been placed around the area to protect it from wildlife and livestock. The water committee also hold spare parts and tools, and they have agreed to continually check the borehole for damage.
All of this involvement of the local community will mean they have a real sense of ownership of the project, which will lead to better use and maintenance in the long term. The project will also be monitored for a minimum of seven years as part of Just a Drop’s ongoing monitoring programme to ensure the sustainability of the facilities in the future and to assist the community if any issues arise.
This new water source has provided safe clean water for a school with a large number of pupils, to teachers and to families, all of whom previously had to drink water from contaminated streams.
On behalf of the Kauwe community Just a Drop would like to thank Epsom College 2012 leavers, along with their parents and teachers for the support and funds that have enabled us to provide a much needed service to Kauwe Basic School. This truly has changed the lives of the pupils there.
Mukuni Rural Health Centre
The Mukuni Chiefdom has a population of over 17,000 with 8,456 people living in the catchment area of the Mukuni Rural Health Centre who will benefit from the new facilities.
Mukuni Village is seven kilometres from Victoria Falls and 16 kilometres from Livingstone. The community mainly consists of subsistence farmers who live hand to mouth and below the poverty line. The furthest villages in the catchment area for the health centre are 30 kilometres away, which is up to ten hours of walking, an unimaginable journey for people who are sick.
The pre-existing latrine at Mukuni Health Centre was full and could no longer be used. Consequently the patients used the nearby bushes. This created a serious health risk to them, to the surrounding households and to the pre-school. The original latrine was also used for clinical waste and the latrine became full and unusable very quickly.
It was essential that the local community participated in the design of the project as well as the long term ownership and management. In order to ensure the sustainability of the project, prior to the application for funding, two meetings were held with the Mukuni Health Centre officer as well as the Environmental Officer, who is based at the clinic.
With the fantastic news of funding from Epsom College another meeting was held with the same people and the community’s Water and Sanitation Committee to discuss the next steps.
The locations for the double VIP latrines and sluice were agreed to be placed in the safest and most convenient area. The local community also agreed to provide the building bricks, water and unskilled labour to help dig the holes.
- The construction of two double pit latrines at Mukuni Rural Health Centre for use by both in and out patients of the Health Centre as well as a sluice to be used solely for clinical waste
- A wider benefit of improved general hygiene of the Health Centre and its immediate surrounding areas
- A reduction of breeding grounds for houseflies which are the most common carriers of diarrhoeal and other related illnesses and diseases.
The construction of the double latrines and the sluice has been greatly appreciated by the Health Centre Committee, the patients and the surrounding community. The new facilities will make a tremendous difference to the sanitation needs of the health centre and will enable the health centre to be fully operational, without the risk of closure by the Ministry of Health.
This will all mean the improvement of health in both the patients and the surrounding communities. “We will now be able to offer a full Health Centre package knowing that both the clinical and sanitary needs of our patients will be catered for. We really thank everyone involved in the provision of these sanitary facilities.” Mrs Sibeso Maseka, the environmental health technician at the health centre.
Click here to download the full project report.
Date of Project: September 2013
Beneficiaries: 800 pupils plus over 8,000 people in Makuni Village