accessibility & help

Water and sanitation in Zimbabwe

Women using community water pump

The Red Cross is improving access to water and tackling poor sanitation in Zimbabwe with a programme that unites communities and promotes change from within.

Lack of safe water and sanitation is the world’s single largest cause of illness. In Chivi district in south-east Zimbabwe where 70 per cent of households take their water from unsafe sources, the communities are particularly prone to outbreaks of disease such as cholera, malaria, diarrhoeal diseases and typhoid.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross, with support from the British Red Cross, is increasing communities’ access to clean water while improving health and sanitation practices within households through a four-year programme (2011-2015).

Increasing resources

Most households in the region have to travel between two to six hours every day just to reach a safe water point. This isn’t practical when there are children to care for and livelihoods to maintain.

The Red Cross is working with communities to find out what would make the most difference to them in their daily lives. As a result, the project is: 

  • constructing 50 new water points
  • making 350 damaged boreholes and water points suitable for use
  • training 45 people to work as pump technicians,managing water resources and equipment in the area
  • setting up 400 groups to promote water safety
  • equipping 180 volunteers with health and hygiene training, so they can work with households in the area.

Community ownership

The project isn’t just about providing resources. People are working together to improve the environment they live in. They are volunteering for the programme and examining existing hygiene behaviour to understand how transmission of disease takes place, and how it can be prevented.

A 14-day training course provided by the Red Cross is equipping 180 community volunteers to promote the importance of using clean water and improving hygiene practices. Children will be getting a head start in schools thanks to new hygiene training for 252 teachers.

Through the programme, the Red Cross will reach 100,000 people, instilling better hygiene practices which will remain long after the water points have been installed. 

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