Sokoloko Village lies near Luansobe in the Masaiti District of the Copperbelt Province in Northern Zambia. The population of Sokoloko live in a remote rural community which has no local school, no local health services and no access to safe water. Old and sick people find it hard to fetch water from far from their houses and due to shortage of clean water, hygiene is poor.
Luansobe is an area of approximately 1,200 sq kms with a population of 37,000 – mainly subsistence farming families. 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.
In April 2013, work began in Sokoloko Village to provide 140 villagers who faced unimaginable hardships without an accessible, clean and safe water source.
Before this project, many of the families in Sokoloko drew water by rope and bucket from an unprotected well that had been 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.
The project was implemented by Just a Drop’s local partner Kaloko Trust and sponsored by The Midcounties Co-operative. The project started through the project team visiting the local community and explaining the aims of the project and the selection criteria.
The conditions for assistance (all of which would ensure long term sustainability) 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 opening of a bank account for depositing the levy.
A Wat-San Committee was formed from the Sokoloko community with five men and four women who agreed to be responsible for ongoing maintenance and were trained in the upkeep and repair of the hand pump.
The committee have also been provided with a repair toolkit to help maintain the borehole every six months; and were also trained to establish and manage funds for the repair and maintenance of the water supply system.
The community is planning to purchase spare parts for the borehole in advance. A monthly levy will be contributed at a cost of ZMW5 (55p) per household. The user fees are collected and held in a bank account, where currently there is a capital fund of ZMW 1,300 – approximately £140.
The community made contributions in kind which formed part of the project and saved costs. They contributed labour and local materials for the construction of the apron. The community faced a slight delay during the project as the contractor was late to install the hand-pump because of a shortage of supply in Zambia. The pumps had to be imported from South Africa, which delayed the completion date.
By the end of December 2013 after a hydro geological survey was conducted the borehole was drilled and fitted with an India Mark II hand pump.
The project will have the combined benefits of improving the health status of families by reducing the incidence of water-related diseases and time spent by women and girls in fetching water.
Time taken to collect water has now been reduced to 5 – 10 minutes.
An added benefit of the borehole is that it has already attracted other people to settle in the village. And, as a result of the new water supply, the community is planning to open up a community school near the borehole which is a wonderful additional outcome!
“I walk for about two hours to reach school. In the rainy season I sometimes found that the water in the open well was very muddy due to run offs. This made me look for other water sources far away. I was taking a lot of my time and was reaching school late, tired and sometimes I was so tired I could not even go to school.
Thank you to Just a Drop and The Midcounties Co-operative for the wonderful help they have given to us by bringing clean water closer to our homes. This has saved so much time, we are taking less than five minutes to draw water and I am no longer late or absent from school.”
“Before the project a child wrapped human waste and dropped it in the open well. People were drinking water without knowing this. But even when this was found the community had no option and they continued drinking water from the same well, even though it could make them sick. Thanks to Just a Drop for this borehole. We are now drinking clean water with a nice smell. The borehole is sealed so no one can drop anything inside again.”
Project Sponsor: The Midcounties Co-operative
Date of Project: February 2014