The Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe has set aside US$3,4 million towards improving water and sanitation in Masvingo province as part of efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without basic sanitation.
Speaking at a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Red Cross Society president Mr Edson Mlambo said the project would serve 100 000 people with safe water.
"The four-year project which started in 2011 for the rural populace of Chivi in Masvingo will serve 100 000 with safe water and 36 000 with basic sanitation.
"The Red Cross Society with the support from the European Union is working closely with the Government in improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in rural areas in the country.
"The programme will continue beyond 2015 under the umbrella of the International Federation of Red Cross' Global Water and Sanitation Initiative," he said.
Red Cross completed its first water and sanitation project for rural people in Mount Darwin in April 2010. The project benefited 60 750 people with safe water and 15 200 with basic sanitation.
"Evaluation to determine the sustainability of the Mount Darwin project was recently concluded.
"Preliminary findings indicate that 82 percent of water points are still functioning and 96 percent of latrines in schools and clinics are still in use.
"Lessons learnt from the study in Mount Darwin will be used to inform the progress in the Masvingo project and the two projects will benefit a minimum of 250 000," he said.
Speaking at the same occasion Red Cross Society Secretary General My Lucky Goteka said access to affordable and sustainable safe water and basic sanitation combined with improved hygiene practices are crucial to promote community health, resilience and human dignity.
"Sanitation and hygiene promotion are two most effective interventions for controlling diarrhea in the country and the most cost effective public health interventions," he said
Zimbabwe Red Cross Society is working in partnership with International Federation of Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies, European Union Water Facility, British Red Cross and Finnish Red Cross.