CHAMBO NG’UNI, Kabwe
FOR some years, Evelyn Kunda and members of her family have been experiencing challenges accessing water within a manageable distance.
Like other families in Makululu and other unplanned settlements in Kabwe, Ms Kunda’s family can only access water from water kiosks, communal taps and shallow wells.
She has been covering a distance of about 250 metres to buy water at the water kiosk managed by Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company.
“We are suffering in terms of accessing water. This has been a big problem for us here,” Ms Kunda complained.
On a daily basis, her family buys three 20 litre containers of water from a water kiosk for K1.
In a week, her family of nine members spends between K7 and K10 to own water.
“To be honest, the water is not enough for the whole family,” Ms Kunda, who struggles to earn a living said.
She is, however, happy that Habitat for Humanity Zambia under its Maanzi programme is drilling and installing boreholes in Makululu.
The organisation has installed two boreholes in Kabwe’s biggest unplanned township at a total cost of K44, 000, and one of the boreholes is near Ms Kunda’s yard.
Her family and other Makululu residents are now drawing water closer to their homes.
Gwen Chipulu, another community member is happy that a borehole has been installed near her house because she will no longer have to walk a long distance to buy the commodity.
Ms Chipulu narrates that drawing water at the water kiosk was a strenuous activity because of congestion since it was the only source of clean and safe water in the community.
“I am happy about this borehole that they have installed here,” Ms Chipulu, who was among people who witnessed the commissioning of one borehole said.
The Maanzi programme aims at improving access to water and good sanitation to promote public health and the well-being of people in needy communities.
Habitat for Humanity Zambia intends to install 109 water kiosks and boreholes in different areas for 30,250 individuals in a project that started on July 1, 2014 and comes to an end on June 30, this year.
Government is working with cooperating partners to increase access to clean, and safe water.
Central Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kabwe said people in Makululu lack decent accommodation and clean water.
“Makululu is one of the largest slums in Zambia and therefore has not escaped the predicament of inadequate sanitation facilities. There are limited water points and sanitation facilities,” Mr Kabwe said.
He said the availability of safe water and good sanitation are among the determinants of good health. Without these, a nation cannot enjoy public health and productivity.
For example, lack of or limited access to clean and safe water and poor sanitation can result in acute diarrhoea and respiratory infections.
Mr Kabwe said the move by Habitat for Humanity Zambia to provide water to residents of Makululu township is commendable.
Habitat for Humanity Zambia started doing charity work in Makululu in 2014 by building houses for some underprivileged families.
The organisation’s national director Kanyata Mukelabai said the people of Makululu have the right to decent accommodation and safe drinking water.
“The area has few water collection points, so residents have to walk several metres to draw water,” Mr Mukelabai said.
He said his organisation wants to increase access to clean and safe drinking water in the area as well as promote environmental hygiene.
“We are poised to drill more boreholes in the township and we only hope the community will continue supporting our efforts. We believe in participatory development in transforming communities,” Mr Mukelabai said.
Habitat for Humanity International Europe, Middle East and Africa vice president Torre Nelson said the provision of clean and safe drinking water to the people in need is a positive development.
He said his organisation is happy to work with Government in providing water and decent accommodation to the poor.
“We are happy for the community, and we will continue to support the local community to have better housing and access to water,” Mr Nelson said.
He said water is an essential commodity which should be easily accessible by everyone, including people in high density townships like Makululu.
Kabwe deputy mayor Billy Sichamba urged Habitat for Humanity Zambia to extend its services to other unplanned townships in the district.
“Sinking a borehole like this is what I call a high impact project because so many people are going to benefit from water,” Mr Sichamba said.
“It may look as if it’s a small thing, but in reality the people of Makululu are going to access clean and safe water which will automatically help in preventing waterborne diseases.”
Government wants citizens in the country to access water in line with sustainable development goal number six aimed at ensuring available and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.
“In this vein, I would want to encourage the residents of Makululu township to take care of the boreholes and refrain from vandalism to show appreciation for the good gesture,” Mr Kabwe said.
The deputy Mayor noted that in the Seventh National Development Plan, Government has prioritised the provision of clean and safe water and good sanitation.
After this development, Ms Kunda and many other people in Makululu are looking forward to a time when Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company will provide them with piped water at household level.