By Kiran Ntapasha – Mana.
Over 58,000 people from 37 villages under Senior Chief Khwethemule in Thyolo are expected to access safe water under the United Purpose (UP) one year intervention called Beyond Borehole (BB) project.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project Manager for BB Project, Chifundo Mandala said Monday that the main objective of the project is to enhance health and quality life for most people living in villages around Thuchira Tea Association (TTA) to ensure the villagers source water from protected water sources.
Mandala noted that every year tea farmers register high cases of diarrhoea and cholera due to water from unprotected sources.
He said this affects farmers’ livelihood such that there was an increase of 5 percent in the rate of diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery and typhoid between 2019 and 2020.
“These poor sanitation and hygiene practices pose risks to the value chains of the Tea Grower Associations,” the Manager said.
He added that apart from benefiting the community, the project would help in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda through the reduction of water challenges and attainment of good health among 58,237 tea farmers from the 37 villages.
“Lack of safe water is not only a health problem; it affects the education and security of girls in rural community where women and girls have primary role to fetch water from long distances at night,” Mandala said.
He hoped that drilling boreholes within a reasonable distance would reduce girls and women’s vulnerability to GBV that is associated with travelling long distances to draw water at night.
Thyolo District Water Development Officer, James Mselela hailed the UP for implementing the BB project saying the project would relieve the people in the district from water problems which have been there for a long time.
He observed that Khwethemule and other areas are hard to reach only depend on unprotected wells saying, “We are very grateful that UP has chosen to reach out to people in such areas and provide them with safe water,”
Mselela added that Thyolo has 73 percent of people with access to safe water with a supply access of 63 percent to the area of Khwethemule leaving 37 percent of the population of the area with no access to safe water.
Started in January 2021, BB is a project under the WASH programme and has so far rehabilitated eight boreholes and is drilling 10 new boreholes in Khwethemule area before the project winds up in December, 2021.
Apart from drilling and maintaining boreholes, the project is promoting good sanitation and hygiene practices by discouraging open defecation among villagers under Khwethemule jurisdiction.
The Project was budgeted at K 148, 521, 561 with financial assistance from the European Commission in partnership with Irish Aid, United Nation Children’s Funds (UNICEF) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).