Three trustees of Water for Kids, Natasha Franklin, Sara Emanuel and Patrice Panella went to Zambia in September 2015. They visited several projects where not only water was provided, but also hygiene education with the aim of every household building its own latrine and washing facilities.
At one of the completed projects we visited, Kalukndwe, a borehole had been repaired and the Water Committee trained. A woman on the Water Committee said:
"We were getting water from (contaminated) scoop holes and children were getting ill each day. Now they are much better. We have built latrines and dish-racks. This gentleman you have brought here (the Water for Kids project manager) has educated us and I am passing the knowledge to the little girls so that they can do the same."
Our newest project is in Katoba, a large rural area 65km from the capital, Lusaka. Water will be provided to a large school and a clinic with a maternity unit. At the moment, the villagers have to walk several kilometres to get water and children have to bring their own water to school. Pregnant women have to carry their own water as well to the clinic. These facilities will be provided very soon, following permission to pipe the water under a road and will make a real difference to the community.
Forty Hygiene Promoters, one from each of the villages in Katoba, have been trained in a similar way to those in Kalukundwe. They will educate the community about the importance of using safe water and latrines etc. They will encourage each household to build their own latrine, refuse pit and tip-tap for washing their hands. This, along with the safe water provided, will help the villagers stay well.
Meanwhile, a borehole with hand pump has been provided in a one of the villages called Shamutinta and the village Water Committee has been trained. They will be responsible for keeping the water pump clean and in good condition. They will collect a small monthly fee from each household for repairs and maintenance. Pump menders have been trained as part of the project so that the water will keep running. Community ownership is an important part of all of our projects.
A ceremony to handover phase one of the project took place on 14 September when the trustees were visiting. It was a real celebration of the new water pump and the community very much appreciated the training they had received. School children danced and sang songs with messages about good hygiene and hygiene promoters did a drama about how the well is the responsibility of the villagers, now it has been handed over to the water committee. There were many impressive speeches and all were very grateful for the work which Water for Kids had done through its partners on the Executive of the Zambian Institute of Environmental Health. The mayor said:
"Water is Life, without water there is no life. Food, life, all on earth including humans, cannot exist without water. For this I am very humbled that a project like this comes to my community. Last week, we were walking over 1km to get water. You have sent a lot of money which the community cannot afford. Your coming is a milestone for us. I urge you beneficiaries to guard the water pump very jealously."
New initiative at Namasheshe
A new project at Namasheshe, which the trustees visited, included a new initiative. The Hygiene Promoters, who were recently trained there, have built a demo site showing the facilities which they hope all households will build. These are latrines (from a simple one to one which will last a few years, is easy to clean and gives privacy), tip-taps, refuse pits, bath shelter and dish rack. This demo site has really helped give the village a sense of ownership of the project.
During the visit the trustees saw how providing water can help promote development and reduce poverty. New and better houses and shops have been built using the water and markets are expanding with more locally grown fresh produce and other items for sale.
Thanks to efforts of our two fantastic project managers in Zambia and our supporters in the UK continuing to donate generously, Water for Kids will continue its work well into the future; saving many lives in the process.