Water harvesting brings hope for Binga women

Faced with this challenge, a local women’s group, the Tawonga Women’s Club, embarked on a rainfall harvesting project that is proving to be a panacea to their water woes.

Members show the fruits of their hard work in the vegetable garden.
Members show the fruits of their hard work in the vegetable garden.

With financial assistance from local NGO, Climate Smart Initiative (CSI), the women have constructed two rainfall water run-off weirs, that are being used to irrigate gardens, water livestock and provide drinking water for homesteads.

“CSI assisted us with technical and financial support to buy material like cement for the construction of the weirs. We provided labour and food for the constructors. Every member involved in the project contributed $5. These funds were used to buy pipes and manual water pumps,” said Emily Gumbo, chairperson of the club.

The Tawonga Women’s Club was formed early in the 90’s by a group of 15 women involved in craft making. But it was forced to close due to the economic crisis in 2007. Fortunately, the club was resurrected in 2013 – this time with a new aim. The priority now was to improve the lives of vulnerable women and children through farming.

Balanced diets

According to Gumbo, a five hectare catchment area can supply a cumulative volume of run-off water to each weir and that this is sufficient for a year, depending on usage. The water from the weirs gravitates to smaller, individual concrete holding tanks, each equipped with a hand-powered pump.

“Each tank is capable of holding approximately 10 000 litres of water. We try to distribute water equally among members. As a direct result of the availability of water, members have now started planting vegetable gardens. Some are even selling their products to supermarkets, schools and government institutions at Binga centre,” said the chairperson.

One of the members of the club, Susan Ndlovu, said the project has transformed her family‘s life.


“I am one of the founder members of Tawonga Women’s Club. Before this project, our lives were miserable and our children suffered from malnutrition. We are now able to feed our children, sell produce locally and pay school fees,” she said.

Another member of the club, Fadzai Mukamba, also hailed the water project as a success.

“This project is a game changer. We are most grateful to CSI for initiating this project . We are now able to do market gardening, something that was unheard of before. Our families enjoy a balanced diet thanks to the vegetables that we grow, “she said.

For a very long time, Matabeleland has been battling with water shortages and droughts. The province also suffers marginalisation by the government. In most instances, the subject of development is only talked about during election campaigns.

Post published in: Analysis

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