New dam brings life to Mwenezi families

PAMENUS TUSO reports on the positive effects brought about by the building of the Tsvimborume Weir Dam.

Women taking part in the weir construction.

Women taking part in the weir construction.

“I am at a loss for words on how to thank the World Food Programme for assisting us to construct this dam. It will definitely bring tremendous opportunities to the women who bear the brunt of travelling long distances to source water for domestic use and to water our gardens,” said  Berata Taperesu.

This 36-year old mother is just one of the many people who spoke to a group of journalists and United Nations officials during a recent visit to the Tsvimborume Weir Dam construction site in Mwenezi district. The project was identified in 2013 through a community consultative process.

The local community, with the assistance of AFRICARE, mobilised resources and purchased 460 bags of cement to kick-start the project as the answer to the constant water shortages in the area. However it was abandoned in 2014 due to a shortage of resources.

“We had only constructed a very small portion of the dam wall and one single storage tank when resources ran out.  We approached various organisations for assistance, but to no avail,” said Risimati Palate, chairperson of the project implementation team, which comprises members of the community.

Work at the construction site resumed early this year after the World Food Programme came to the rescue with resources for the construction of the weir under its Cash–Food for asset programme. Under this programme, able-bodied, food-insecure people receive food rations to meet their immediate needs while they work to create or rehabilitate assets that will increase their resilience in future.

Local WFP programmes officer, Farai Mukwende, said a total of 70 households will benefit from the project.

“The water from the dam will be used for domestic purposes as well as for livestock. Under this project, the beneficiaries have also identified and cleared a piece of land where they are going to set up a nutrition garden. Households will be allocated land in the garden,” said Mukwende.
The fully completed dam is expected to hold about 12,500 cubic metres of water.

Palate said that, depending on the availability of water, the local community plans to allocate more villagers with land for the purpose of starting nutrition gardens.

“We are also planning to introduce projects such as fish breeding and packaging. We are already scouting for potential partners who can assist us to achieve this goal, “he said.

WFP in partnership with Mwenezi Development Training Centre (MDTC) supports a total of 17 projects in eight wards in Mwenezi, the largest district in Masvingo. A total of 2,825 people, mostly women, are involved in and benefit from these projects.

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