UMCOR

United Methodist Committee on Relief

In Zimbabwe, UMCOR Equips Community to Ensure Safe Water

A repaired borehole at Kafura Secondary School is made possible after UMCOR facilitates a practical training in repairs and upkeep for village water pump caretakers. Photo: UMCOR ZimbabweA repaired borehole at Kafura Secondary School is made possible after UMCOR facilitates a practical training in repairs and upkeep for village water pump caretakers. Photo: UMCOR Zimbabwe

Story by Admire Mukorera*

August 11, 2016 — For 10 years, the borehole at Kafura Secondary School has served as the main clean water source for the Kafura community in Mashonaland East province in Zimbabwe. But when the borehole broke down for four months recently, local families and schoolchildren were forced to seek water elsewhere, at unprotected sources.

The loss of the prized water point was compounded by the effects of pervasive and persistent drought, which has been drying up large swathes of Africa. Already, most boreholes were yielding less water than expected, and in some cases, were running dry. Families feared the spread of disease, as they turned to less safe water sources for their household needs.

Community members pinned their hopes on getting the Kafura Secondary School borehole back up and running, as it had always provided them with water in times of need. They finally got the relief they longed for when the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), in partnership with the District Development Fund (DDF), a district government technical office, chose the borehole to be the focus of their practical training of village water pump caretakers.

 Repairs for the Kafura Secondary School borehole in progress.
Repairs for the Kafura Secondary School borehole in progress. Photo: UMCOR Zimbabwe

In fact, the long down-time of the Kafura Secondary School borehole had been partly caused by the absence of a trained water-point committee in Kafura to oversee and care for the borehole and manage repairs. UMCOR revitalized the local committee and facilitated a training to equip the members to mobilize resources for the rehabilitation and included it as a practical session during the village water pump caretakers training.

Joel Musona, one of the trained committee members, expressed the community’s gratitude to UMCOR and DDF for alleviating their plight. He explained that family members had had to wake up at 4 a.m. to queue up at an unprotected well, which had a low yield besides. The task most often fell to the women and girls of a family, who, traveling in darkness to fetch water, were exposed to countless dangers. They had to travel more than nine kilometers (about six miles) to reach the closest water sources.

Kafura residents were so happy that UMCOR and DDF chose their borehole to be repaired during the practical training of village water pump caretakers. The repair work drew the attention of students and teachers from Kafura Secondary School, who could not hide their joy at the sight of the first drops of clean, safe water after the four months of hardship they’d endured as a result of the breakdown. Your gift to UMCOR Sustainable Recovery & Development, Advance #3021951, supports works like this in five UMCOR country offices, located in Zimbabwe, Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Haiti.


*Admire Mukorera is project engineer for UMCOR’s country office in Zimbabwe.

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