Water – a basic human necessity

One of the community development projects being implemented by Environment Africa is Wells and Nutrition Gardens within rural schools. Many rural schools do not have access to water and CEO of Environment Africa, Charlene Hewat together with Chris Molam, Past District Governor of Rotary from District 9210, spent two days visiting rural schools in Kadoma, one of the focus areas for this project.

Charlie Hewat, CEO Environment Africa and Chris Molam, PDG Rotary District 9210 looking at a well in Kadoma
Charlie Hewat, CEO Environment Africa and Chris Molam, PDG Rotary District 9210 looking at a well in Kadoma

They spent two days, traversed 700 km and visited 12 out of the 30 schools identified as recipients. The Rotary Club of Hunyani has partnered Rotary Clubs in Europe, Canada, America and the UK together with the Rotary Foundation to support this project.

Kadoma is traditionally a mining area and is typically very hot and dry with low rainfall. The day-to-day reality for thousands of children in these remote rural areas starts with a 5 to 10 km walk to school. Many schools have no fresh water supply, hence the importance of this project which also encompasses the concept of PPCP’s, Private Public Community Partnerships, which gives communities ownership and responsibility for all projects in their area.

At the start of the project in October 2010 each of the 30 participating schools was visited to establish if there was an underground water source. School Development Committees, comprising members of staff, parents and local community members, are responsible for coordinating and overseeing the project.

Each school is responsible for digging and preparing a well and establishing a nutrition garden to grow vegetables which can be used for the school and the excess sold to the local community to raise funds. Many schools visited are also raising funds to support local orphans and assist them with school fees.

Each school raised money to buy bricks and cement to line the wall of the well and Rotary will fund pumps to be installed at each well. In most cases, the schools have also had to approach private business within their areas to help with blasting as this is a very rocky area.

Of the 12 schools visited, every school has dug and prepared their wells ready for the pump fitting. Depths of digging before hitting water have ranged from two metres to 38 metres with the average depth being 14 m.

Visiting rural schools in Kadoma district
Visiting rural schools in Kadoma district

Some of the schools have already taken the initiative to start cultivating vegetables and are fetching water from the nearest source.

Molam was pleased with the progress and said he could see community ownership and empowerment taking place on the ground. He believes this could be a larger programme that Rotary could adopt as they move towards a more sustainable long term approach to community development. – Think globally, act locally, together we can make a difference. www.environmentafrica.org

Take the challenge

Take this challenge – switch off your water at the main source in your home for 24 hours. The closest point at which you could walk to fetch water must be a minimum of one kilometer away from your home. No hopping into your car and driving – you must walk.

Sounds simple enough, but we challenge you to do it for 24 hours and it will give you a new perspective on how we take water for granted and how we cannot live without it. For many people living in rural communities, this is not a 24-hour challenge, but an everyday reality, with people having to walk many kilometers every day to fetch water.

Post published in: Environment

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