Analysis: LOUIS MWAPE
IN THE north-west of Kabwe about five kilometres away from the central business district lies a place called Makululu. It is an expansive township revered as the biggest slum in Zambia and one of the biggest in southern Africa. It is typically known to be a place that epitomised the rise of unplanned settlements in Kabwe back in the 90s and the ills that came with it, vis-a-vis lack of adequate amenities to equal its ever-increasing population.
Nevertheless, it seems the dawn of a new era is fast approaching for that place, which is a habitat to thousands of people. Makululu’s face is slowly changing and its unfolding narrative is remarkably interesting.
Today, Makululu boasts of a Government-sponsored K51.3 million ultra-modern secondary school located right in the thick, a Catholic skills training institution known as Don Bosco Training Centre, a housing complex to consist of 115 units being developed by Habitat for Humanity Zambia, among other facilities.
Such developments suggest hope for Makululu, and what makes its narrative a lot more interesting is the fact that there is yet another latest wave of development coming. Besides a few pockets of infrastructural developments that have unfolded over the years, Makululu is scheduled to benefit from two separate water projects that will ensure that there is increased access to clean and safe water.
To understand why water projects are such a big deal for this area, here are a few titbits about Makululu. Despite its vastness and upsurge in population, currently Makululu only has 20 water kiosks and 22 communal taps dotted around its five (5) wards, namely Chililalila, Makululu, Makandanyama, Moomba and Zambezi.
The most prominent challenge is that the population in Makululu outstrips the available designated water facilities. It is for this reason that Habitat for Humanity Zambia threw itself into that assignment by partnering with LgWSC to construct five water kiosks at a cost of K320,000 across Makululu. The project has since commenced and it is expected to directly benefit at least over 6,000 people once completed in June 2019.
Speaking recently during the site visit to earmarked areas for the construction of water points in Makululu, Habitat for Humanity Zambia project manager Victor Sitali explained that besides the provision of decent housing to the needy, Habitat for Humanity felt compelled to contribute towards increased access to water for the people of Makululu. He said the project funds have been given to Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company Limited (LgWSC) to implement the project.
“We are collaborating with LgWSC and we have disbursed funds to complete five initial water kiosks with the possibility of constructing 14 more in our next phase depending on the availability of funds,” Mr Sitali said.
LgWSC acting managing director Yoram Sinyangwe said the partnership between Habitat for Humanity Zambia and LgWSC speaks volumes about the significance of cooperating partners that identify with the dire needs of the people. He explained that the setting up of a water project by Habitat for Humanity in Makululu, where water is a live political and social issue that needs adequate attention, is a commendable gesture worth emulating by other cooperating partners.
Mr Sinyangwe added that the project will greatly benefit LgWSC in terms of improved service delivery, and that people will not have to walk stretches of kilometres for them to access the commodity. He also explained that the project will further impact positively on the water service coverage for Central Province that currently stands at 83 percent.
Mr Sinyangwe’s sentiments were also re-echoed by one mommunity member and water vendor, Naomi Mumba, who commended the two partners for the project that she described as a solution that will alleviate the plight of most Makululu women and children who walk long distances to fetch water.
Water is everyone’s big deal and it is a daunting task that requires greater collaboration, and it being an inevitable fabric of the Government’s Vision 2030, projects of such kind could make a great change to the national water coverage too.
It is for this reason that Government, through the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, is kick-starting a K34 million Makululu Water Supply Improvement Project, which will culminate into the building of a 350,000 litre capacity overhead tank, rehabilitation and equipping three boreholes and installation of at least 1,000 individual household water connections. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2020.
With the coming of water projects, Makululu will have access to decent water facilities, coupled with other amenities despite being a slum.
The author is communications officer at Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company Limited.
Analysis: LOUIS MWAPE