By Michael Gwarisa recently in Siakobvu, Kariba
GOVERNMENT in partnership with Save the Children and other non governmental organizations has embarked on widespread Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in various districts around the country.
According to Water and Sanitation experts, poor adherence to sanitation and hygiene expectations could lead to serious malnutrition cases as a result of diarrheal diseases which cause severe wasting of the body especially in children below the age of five.
Adhering to basic WASH requirement is simple, just ensure you have access to clean safe water and proper ablution facilitates and all rubbish and junk is disposed of properly. However, accessing detergents and clean water can be a challenge for vulnerable communities and the poor in general, hence the need to adopt affordable and cheap means of practicing basic hygiene.
One such affordable and easy means of ensuring the vulnerable rural groups get access to running water in areas where there are no boreholes is through the famed “Chigubu Gear” or a Tip Tap which is a manually operated homemade tape. To make a Tip Tap, one needs a clean and transparent plastic container, two wooden sticks which are dug firmly into the ground, a 30 cm or so long string and a stick which works as the leaver gear that one steps on to tilt the container so that it pours out water.
Tinarwo Muchimba demostrating how the Chigubu gear works
“So here is how the Chigubu gear works, after using the toilet or after changing your baby’s diaper, you step on this stick which is tied to the opening of the water container. The container then tilts in your direction and watter comes out and you was your hands.
“We used to have numerous diarrhea issues around here, when the people from Save the children introduced this idea to us, it’s been working wonders. We ensure that we move around educating our communities on the need to practice good hygiene and sanitation at a household level and the Chugubu gear is one such cheap mode of ensuring that,” said Tinarwo Miamba a Village Health Worker in Siakobvu, Kariba District.
Although 73% of the population has access to safe water and 60% to improved sanitation facilities, more than 60% of the rural water supply infrastructure is in disrepair and 40% of Zimbabweans in rural areas practice open defecation, according to Unicef statistics.
Save the Children and the ministry of health and child care is implementing the Nutrition and WASH projects in more than five districts in Zimbabwe including Kariba District in Mashonaland West province and Binga in Matabelenand North.
Results of the May 2016 ZIMVAC rural livelihood assessment identified the district in which more than 5 percent of children had global acute malnutrition (GAM) and estimated that over 40 percent of the population would be food insecure between January and March 2017. Due to the widely varied livelihoods and the different climatic conditions present in high risk areas, populations across the country will likely have very different drought related experiences from the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017.
Meanwhile, Save the Children Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Officer Comfort Mandizvidza said the issue of sanitation and hyegene was a cause for concern in the Binga district as most villagers around Simatelele and other neighboring villages would fetch water from shallow wells and rivers which expose them to serious health issues.
“Most people around here fetch water in rivers, however we as Save the Children in partnership with the ministry of health and USAID have suck boreholes so that they could access safe water.
“We have also dug toilets for for several households so that we reduce severe cases of Open defecation,” said Mandizvidza.