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ZimFund water and sanitation project: Communities can sustain local infrastructure
“Residents should take part in social engineering of projects, civic education and offer community stewardship in maintaining infrastructure. Besides this, residents should pay for water and sanitation services rendered, so that local authorities can generate funds to maintain infrastructure,” said Hardlife Mudzingwa, Programmes Director for the Community Water Alliance.
Community Water Alliance (CWA) is a grassroots civil society organisation (CSO) that does advocacy work in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), environment and climate issues. CWA has more than 25,000 individual members and 15 institutional members.
ZimFund organises community engagement workshops to learn and share knowledge of best practices among beneficiaries of ZimFund interventions in their communities, due to their engagement and ownership of the projects. These workshops, held in collaboration with local authorities, draw participants from residents, councillors, representatives from the relevant ministries, ZimFund donors, local authority officials and the African Development Bank/ZimFund team.
“The engagement with residents, particularly through the community engagement workshop, was a good initiative by ZimFund. Apart from the need to further entrench citizens’ participation in projects, civic education and community stewardship, they should also monitor and observe infrastructure maintenance and agree social integrity pacts of residents with the local authority,” said Mudzingwa.
Two projects are ongoing under the ZimFund: the Urgent Water Supply and Sanitation Rehabilitation Project (UWSSRP 11) and the Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project (EPIRP II). Under UWSSRP II, nearly two million people in Harare, Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Redcliff are expected to benefit from clean water and improved sanitation services as well as improved health and hygiene standards. EPIRP II is being implemented in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe, Mutare and Hwange with a combined population of five million people. Some of the work in both projects has been completed while the completion of the remaining work is expected early in 2020.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6 calls for universal access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation by 2030. There is need to invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities and encourage hygiene at every level. Everyone has a part to play in maintaining the infrastructure provided by development partners such as the ZimFund. Community organisations such as CWA are already implementing various initiatives aimed at empowering residents with knowledge.
CWA members’ participation in the recent ZimFund-Harare community engagement workshop empowered residents with their councillors to offer innovative solutions to their water challenges, especially in areas such as Emerald Hill, Sentosa, Greencroft and Avondale, where ZimFund rehabilitated a non-functional water pump station, which was not delivering water to their houses.
ZimFund is a $145 million water, sanitation, and energy programme, established in 2010 after the 2008 cholera outbreak. It is generously supported by Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. It is managed by the African Development Bank as part of its commitment to improve the quality of life in Zimbabwe. The Bank also supports water and sanitation projects in other locations such as Bulawayo and Marondera, and other sectors in Zimbabwe including agriculture, transport, social, private sector, and financial and energy sectors.