Kembumba Village is located near Luansobe in the Masaiti District of the Copperbelt Province in Northern Zambia. The population of Kembumba live in a remote rural community which has no local school or health services and before this project, no access to safe water. Elderly and vulnerable people found it hard to fetch water far from their houses and due to this shortage of clean water, hygiene was poor.
Before this project most of the families in Kembumba drew water by rope and bucket from an unprotected well that was tested by the local Environmental Health Officer and was found to be bacteriologically contaminated. It took on average a 30-45 minute round trip to collect this unsafe water. Children, in particular girls, were involved daily in this work, carrying heavy plastic drums. This obviously has a disruptive effect on their schooling. There is also a high prevalence of water-borne diseases due to lack of safe water and these mostly affect children under the age of 5.
Luansobe is an area of approximately 1200 square kms with a population of 37,000 mainly subsistence farming families. The average family size is about seven and many families are looking after the HIV/AIDS orphans of deceased relatives. There are no formal water 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 conducted 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.
Work began in Kembumba Village to provide the community with an accessible, clean and safe water source. The project was implemented by Just a Drop’s local partner Kaloko Trust and sponsored by Atlas Copco, The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and The $10 Club.
Following the end of the wet season in April 2014 the project team visited the local community of Kembumba several times to start the mobilisation and on 5th June 2014 a formal meeting was held to explain both the aims of the project and the selection criteria.
The 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.
To ensure the longevity and impact of the project (a crucial element of all Just a Drop projects) community-elected women and men were trained to work together as a committee to repair and manage the water system.
The Water and Sanitation Committee was officially elected on the 11th June 2014 and the committee consists of 10 local residents. All members of the Kembumba Wat-San committee plus one extra community member completed the borehole maintenance and repair training which ran from the 30th June to the 4th July 2014. As part of their training the group pulled up and repaired one damaged borehole well at Namaimbo village in the Luesanga Community.
The community made contributions in kind which formed part of the project and saved costs. They contributed local materials, gathering a ton of sand and a ton of stones, for the construction of the apron. The community cleared the drilling site as well as contributing labour during apron construction.
On the 26th September 2014 the borehole was drilled at Kembumba community by the Blue Nile drilling company. The hand pump was then installed on the 1st October, 2014. On the 8th October 2014 the apron around the pump was constructed by a local contractor based in Luansobe community. Blue Nile drilling company contracted a local person to empower people living in Luansobe area.
During the month of November 2014 the borehole was visited by Just a Drop Project Engineer Peter Marsh who checked the installation and met with the community. Following that visit in late November 2014 the apron was repaired to improve drainage and a plaque was installed.
The committee were also trained in financial management so that they can manage their funds. The Kembumba group has already raised the initial ZMW 1,500 required and are now collecting user fees. They were left with a pump manual (in the local language, Lamba). The Masaiti District Water Department has a price list of spare parts which has also been given to the committee.
The community have been advised to service their borehole every six months and to check for loose parts and cracks.
The project has not only reduced the time spent by women and girls fetching water but it has also improved the health of their families by reducing the incidence of water-borne diseases.
100% of the inhabitants, 120 people, of the Kembumba community now have continuous access to safe water. It is estimated that there will be a 60% reduction in the reported water and sanitation related diseases in Kembumba community within just 6 months. 80% of the members of Kembumba water and sanitation committee now have the capacity to maintain and repair their own borehole and hand-pump without outside assistance.
The borehole/hand-pump can cater for at least 250 people. At present it is being used by 120. Given a population growth rate of 2.8% p.a. the facility should be able to serve all the growing community for at least 28 years.
Adessy Muyapekwa, 11, Kembumba
Even without biological tests it was obvious that the water in the previous source was not safe to drink. Adessy says: “Water in the well was brown because of dead leaves, frogs and snakes. The well was not protected and some people were throwing old clothes and items like old plates and pots into the well. Thanks to Just a Drop for the wonderful work they have done here and to the donors. I hope this work should extend to others in the community that are having challenges with water.”
Our sincere thanks to Atlas Copco, The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and The Ten Dollar Club for supporting this project.