Self-reliance in community Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Zimbabwe’s drylands

Self-reliance in community Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Zimbabwe’s drylands

LOCATION AND DURATION OF THE ACTION: Zimbabwe: Gwanda District, Matabeleland South

Wards 5 to 9, 11 to 20 and 24: Enyandeni, Mtshazo,Simbumbumbu, Sizeze, Lushongwe, Ntalale, Gungwe, Garanyemba, Samlondi, Selonga, Matulungundu, Bengu, Shanyaugwe, Mlambapele, Mkhaliphe and Patana; 60 months duration (16/08/2011-15/08.2016).

TARGET GROUP: The action’s final beneficiaries are 18,150 rural households in these wards. They engage in subsistence farming, migrant work and illegal mining and continually face water and health problems.  The action targets 410 communities facing critical water shortage. 99,825 people benefit directly from improved water supply, 19,965 from sanitation facilities and 99,825 people are exposed to hygiene education. Indirect beneficiaries are 120 local community builders, 140 health promoters (85% women), 3,262 local leaders with traditional or functional leadership responsibilities for water points, sanitation or health (85% women) who wish to promote community-based projects and active community participation and to make the WASH interventions sustainable and empowering.

OBJECTIVES OF ACTION: The overall objective is to contribute to improved health and well-being of 18,150 marginalized rural families in 410 communities in the arid Gwanda district of Matabeleland South of Zimbabwe by improving access to and management of sustainable and clean water supplies, basic sanitation facilities and capacitation in hygiene practices.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES OF ACTION:  The specific objective is: to strengthen the capacity of these 410 dryland communities to effectively address pressing water supply, sanitation and hygiene issues with an integrated community-based approach in a low-cost and sustainable way allowing:

•18,150 households to have access to clean and safe potable water,

•3,630 households to have improved pit latrines,

•99,825 persons with knowledge and skills on appropriate hygiene practices and

•3,262 leaders with the knowledge, skills and capacity to operate, maintain and manage low cost water and sanitation systems and infrastructure. 

MAIN ACTIVITIES: 1. Leadership and self-reliance: Leadership and ‘Training of Trainer’ workshops for local community leaders; Community meetings; NGO co-ordination/network meetings; Surveys and community planning; Project management training; Gender mainstreaming and women empowerment training; HIV&AIDS mitigation training; Practical skills training. 2. Water supply development: Hydrogeological and social feasibility surveys; community discussions on small-scale sustainable water supply systems, expectations and water supply needs; Fabrication of water abstraction equipment; Community mobilization; Installation of sand abstraction supplies; Rehabilitation of defunct borehole pumps; construction of water harvesting tanks; Training of water point committees and pump minders; Community meetings to regulate water use, operate and maintain water supplies; Water quality monitoring. 3. Sanitation: Community meetings, Procurement of materials, Train builders, Construct latrines, Community training. 4. Hygiene: Form health clubs, Train promoters, Develop and distribute IEC materials; PPHE campaigns; Construct bio-filter tanks. 5. Best practices: Document and share best practices; Exchange experiences; Train teams in hydrogeological assessments of sand river channels and installation of clean water supply equipment

INNOVATIVE ASPECTS: The system of sand-abstraction: no abstraction of sand, but drawing of water from the underlying saturated sediment of surface dry river beds. Each type of a system depends on equipment which can be installed into the water bearing river sand and at all times remains in free moving water. Schemes range in size from small-scale hand operated supplies right through to massive mechanised (diesel or electric powered) irrigation schemes on large rivers:

i) Well Screens: One or more well screens are connected to a suction pump on the river bank.  Installations are either done when the river water is at its lowest level when the well screen can be dug into the sand, or when the river sand is saturated with water to full depth.  Well screens can then be pushed, (or ‘jetted’) into the lower levels of sand in an artificial ‘quicksand’ condition, caused by a water jet from a motorised centrifugal pump. This system of installation is relatively technically complex and it depends on materials and equipment not readily available in Zimbabwe.

ii) Manifold & Well Points: This system depends on a low speed of water at the point of abstraction, sufficient to draw off water without drawing sand into the system. The system is best installed towards the end of the dry season when the river water level is at its lowest.  River sand is removed to water bearing level and a ‘manifold’, a large prepared pipe, is laid on the water bearing sand and slotted pipes installed at an angle into the sand and connected to the manifold. The manifold is also connected to a suction pump on the river bank. This is probably the most common system employed in Zimbabwe today, though it is doubtful if every installation is correctly calculated.  In general all necessary materials are readily available within the country.

iii) Infiltration Galleries: Most of the original installations are gravity supply systems and consist of a number of interconnected pipes slotted at their end.  Sand has to be kept out of the pipes so that water may run in and flow to a sump or false well on the river bank from where it can be pumped out.  Modern synthetic materials have recently improved the potential of this system as before their introduction it was difficult to keep sand out of the system.  However it is still difficult to ensure that the pipe system is sufficiently deep in the sand to maintain it in water.  Further it necessitates a lot of digging into the river bank.  It is however relatively inexpensive and does not require complex equipment or expertise to operate or maintain.  A windlass or basic hand pump can be utilised to draw water.


SCHIVO Michele


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