Madimba water and sanitation project

Madimba is a semi-urban area on the edge of Lusaka with a population of over 7,000 people. The community is very well organised, it has already installed a number of composting toilets, but many people still have to walk over 1 km to get safe water. We are delighted and grateful that WfK has been awarded its largest ever grant to provide water for the people of Madimba. A UK family Trust has agreed to pay £12,000, well over half of the total cost.

Madimba is not only very densely populated, it also has a very high water table; this means that pit latrines tend to overflow and contaminate the shallow wells. There are high levels of disease particularly affecting children and cholera outbreaks occur during most rainy seasons. The only safe water is between 0.5 and 1.2 km away.

In 2003 the Madimba community set up the Network for the Environmental Concerns and Solutions (NECOS). (One of its founder members, Obed Kwanga, is an Environmental Health Officer, who lives there.) Its approach to development is based on community participation and concern for the environment. The Necos profile says its focus is on “People oriented, eco-residency development, which requires the comprehensive understanding of complex interactions between environmental, economic and socio-cultural factors based on ecological principles.” One of Necos’s main objectives is to “address the bad practices in sanitation and public health so as to improve the general living environment of the people in peri – urban settlements creating a culture of cleanliness and sustainable developmen.”

Necos has worked with the community in Madimba to set out its priorities, their method promotes ownership of the development process based on community participation. The first priority they have addressed is to install sealed composting toilets to households requesting them. As the toilets are sealed, they will not leak when it rains, this will reduce the spread of disease. By the end of 2010, 35 toilets will have been installed, with households paying according to their means, or for free. Funding for the toilets has been secured from Finland.

The second Necos priority to be addressed is safe water. WfK provided a water kiosk, supplied from a new borehole and water tower, and two public composting toilets for the people of Madimba. (The water installation is the same as WfK provided in Fumbelo.) The water kiosk is sited next to a school and a composting toilet was also funded for the school. Following completion of the project, health education and maintenance training has been carried out, partly by NECOS.

The new facilities were handed over to the Neighbourhood Health Committee in July 2010 to ensure they are maintained and available to the whole community for many years to come. The District Commissioner, Finnish Ambassador, local MP and Councillor all attended the handover ceremony. This project attracted such attention as Madimba has had high levels of cholera in the past, and this comprehensive project was seen as an example of what can be achieved with collaborative working.

All this was provided at a cost of £20,300. A grant of £12,000 was donated by a family charitable trust. 7,500 people will benefit from having clean water closer to their home.

In May 2010 the magazine for the Chartered Institution of Water Engineers published an article on Water for Kids, it featured the Madimba project.

Obed Kawanga summarised the project as follows:
“To ensure long term sustainability, the organisation is implementing a cost sharing and cross subsidisation approach, with a view of achieving cost recovery and increase the number of beneficiaries…... It is important to note that the access to water and good sanitation will greatly assist the settlement to mitigate preventable diseases especially among the children who are most vulnerable and will help them concentrate on school and other productive activities, resulting in reduction of poverty and enhanced sustainable development.”
ZIEH News article on Madimba (pdf)