This year the African Well Fund will dedicate its fundraising efforts to benefit a water and sanitation project in Zimbabwe's Gokwe South District. Administered by Africare and local partner agencies, the project aims to rehabilitate broken-down water points, ensure maintenance of existing boreholes and improve sanitation facilities for 2,000 residents of one of the district's rural wards.
Due to economic constraints, water point maintenance has diminished in the region. According to Africare, 51 percent of established water points are non-functional or experience constant breakdown. In Gokwe South, 13 percent of boreholes have broken down almost permanently.
Sanitation issues are also impacting the region. High mortality rates in children under 5 are attributed to water-borne diseases such as gastroenteritis, amoebic dysentery and cholera. Unsanitary human waste disposal is a major cause of these diseases as waste often finds its way into the water supply.
The water and sanitation program hopes to respond to these issues through the implementation of three goals:
- To provide 2,000 beneficiaries with safe, clean and adequate water for domestic use through rehabilitation of 10 boreholes, 10 shallow wells and one deep well.
- To reduce water point breakdowns by at least 50 percent through formation and capacity building of water point committees and provision of maintenance kits.
- To improve sanitation facilities and school attendance through provisions of block grants to two schools for construction of improved ventilation pit latrines.
These three goals will be achieved with the assistance of local committees and workers who will learn to build and maintain the wells, boreholes and latrines. Additionally, 24 area orphans will be offered two years of free schooling via the pit latrine block grants as local schools will enroll the students in exchange for the funds needed to build new latrines.
Through this project, the African Well Fund and Africare hope to not only provide residents of the Gokwe South District with access to clean water but also involve the community and get more children enrolled in school.
The nine-month program will cost an estimated $50,000 and will be funded by monies raised in 2006 by the African Well Fund. So far, $32,000 has been raised with the African Well Fund hoping to raise the remainder by the end of the year.