9 March 2014

Zambia: Improving Lives in Katete Villages

ABOUT 45 kilometres away from Katete Central District in the Eastern Province is a disheartening reality of life that could easily be dismissed as false if simply told.

People in this area have accustomed themselves to a kind of life that see no significant use for a latrine as nearby thick bushes are enough to hide oneself when answering the call of nature!

It would spin one's imagination on how filthy and smelly such an environment could be but rude shockingly no much mess on stench would be there as local swains would eat up these human wastes.

Life intricacy in this area would even go deer when it comes to the issues of water and sanitation as the drinking water from a nearby stream which served as the only source is a huge health hazard on its own.

Apparently, this stream-like water source is not only a drinking source for humans but for animals too, such that the when pigs and dogs are seen swimming and drinking from the same, the amount of contamination just beats one's imagination.

On the other end though, women would be seen washing linen dishes even washing of especially the feet!

Another unthinkable fact is that even the human and animal waste from the nearby bushes would flow into this stream after a downpour.

But do the people seem to even care?

This has been a twin-like reality of life people in Musale, Chokha, Mapindu, Tolani and Joel villages of Katete for many years such that diseases would easily hit this vicinity.

As if this is not the only hitch, reports of marriage dissolving and gender based violence resulting from mare suspicion that women would be doing more than just drawing water at the streams have been recorded.

Headman Musale has attested to this fact and says many that end up on a bitter receiving end after the marital disputes are the young children.

This life that would qualify for a nightmare description just had to one day come to an end.

This comes at the wake of the Word Vision Zambia donation of five boreholes to the aforementioned villages; a development that has completely changed the lives of these people.

Though the issue of lack of lavatories still remains unaddressed, at least people will improve their health status by a huge magnitude.

World Vision Zambia recently handed over five boreholes to this community and it's organisation regional operations manager Dimuna Mwanza, explained that the mandate of World vision was to look at the welfare of a child.

Ms Mwanza said World Vision partnered with Zambia's mobile service provider Zamtel to meet the go of helping the people.

"World Vision is making frantic effort to contribute to improved water supply and sanitation in rural communities, hence we have partnered with individuals and corporations from outside the country and within to raise the necessary resources," Ms Mwanza disclosed.

The local corporations that World Vision has worked with to see and make sure the life of a child was cared for and protected include Zamtel and Finance Bank.

Ms Mwanza says Katete is one of the beneficiaries of the boreholes financed by Finance bank.

She said: "A lot more has happened in Southern Province with the resources from abroad, we are hoping that more activity spread to this region in the near future."

She recounted that World Vision was aware that the five boreholes may not be sufficient to cover the whole of Vulamukoko but believes contributions would be made to improve water supply and sanitation for a good number of households.

Ms Mwanza and World Vision's hope is to see more partners come on board and support many other households that need clean water and improved sanitation.

She later implored villages not to continue using the facilities but put in place strategies that would enable them access safe water for a prolonged period without disruption.

She said the villagers wash (V-wash) committee must make sure that measures for sustainability were put in place.

Government is happy with the strides that the World vision is taking in supplementing its efforts in ensuring that people have access to good health and clean drinking water.

Katete District commissioner Peter Kaisa said Government wants to ensure that good health and clean drinking water were close to the people and that World Vision was doing a commendable job .

"Government is doing everything possible to ensure that clean water and safe water is supplied to rural people through local Government.

Such initiatives as shown by World Vision Zambia of sinking these boreholes are appreciated because they complement Government's effort and will help achieve its objectives," Mr Kaisa said.

In the eagerness of wanting to help the vulnerable children, World Vision is also developing Lupando community school in Katete; a school that only has a single classroom but accommodating 800, pupils from pre-school to grade seven.

This classroom, is an assemblage of building material; a slapdash building to be precise with the roof almost falling off but just supported by stacks of bricks and sacks filled with sand.

Many children would miss lessons during the rainy seasons as 800 of them can not surely be jam-packed in one small slapdash of a classroom.

One encouraging fact about this scenario is that despite having a single classroom, children of Lupando community school have continued to exhibit great interest in getting their right to literacy.

Many would gather under mango trees as the only alternative from the blazing sun.

Head teacher Enock Kambwambwa says: "The Debs advised us not to use the class because it was almost falling but we have no option but to use it, what can we do? We only have one class and the other places we use as classes are the two surrounding churches."

Mr Kambwambwa narrated that an organisation called Care gave the school 38,000 to do anything that could help the school with some basic needs of the school.

"When Care gave us that money, we decided to build a one by three class room block but the money we were given was not enough to complete the project, so it has been like this for so long," Mr Kambwambwa narrated.

But World Vision has come to the aid of Lupando community school by funding the school project on the completion of the classroom blocks.

Mr Kambwambwa sited some challenges he faces in managing the school one of which is young girls dropping out of school due to pregnancies and boys hearding cattle.

"The other challenge we are facing here at the school is that girls get pregnant and even when they are told to get back to they don't, and boys go for initiation ceremony which can also take a long time.

The other thing is that they go to take care of some one's animals only to be given one after four years," Mr Kambwambwa narrated

Who would ever imagine that some can drop out of school to take head someone's cattle for a period of four years to be remunerated with a single cow? Fiddly, it is for sure

Asides that these people go for initiation ceremonies which can take a long and by the time they think of going back to school their epoch has caught up with them.

Even when proper sensitisation has been given to the people by the chiefs and donors cases of drop outs are still transpiring.

Katete World vision programme manager Samuel Chanda gave his reason as to why World Vision decided to fund the project.

"We saw how the children were learning and that they were using surrounding churches for their lessons, so we decided to talk to our donors who later sent some money for the completion of the building and for the books to use," Mr Chanda recited.

World Vision Katete has been allocated US$1,500 US not only to complete the structure but to also support the basic needs of the school.

In developing the school E-learning is going to be, introduced.

Mr Chanda disclosed that even though World Vision's donors have put in the aforementioned amount it would be easier for the NGO to complete all works at the community school with the help of the area member of Parliament.

World Vision donors have pledged to send shoes and sink a borehole for the school.

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