Addressing the Water Crisis in Sikalenge Ward of Binga District

Involved alumni:

The challenge that the project addresses

Sikalenge Ward #6 in Binga district in Zimbabwe experiences annual water shocks and stresses with long-lasting and unbearable impacts. The community attributes the water crisis to the forcible displacement that paved the way for the construction of the Kariba dam in the 1960s; the effects of climate change have recently exacerbated it. The situation is threatening the lives of people and livestock, including the closure of schools and the clinic. The lack of water for the Sikalenge community grossly compromises people’s right to life, health, education, water, and food as embedded in the supreme law of the land – the Zimbabwe constitution.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

The change maker and the community implemented various actions to address the challenge. First and foremost, he assisted the community in forming an advocacy committee, which trained in advocacy and lobbying processes. The committee representing the community (as right holders) is engaging with various government stakeholders (the District Development Coordinator’s office, Binga Rural District Council office, Zimbabwe Water Authority, and the Member of Parliament as duty bearers) advocating for a water pipeline from the Zambezi River to the affected communities. Secondly, the change maker, together with the Sikalenge community, rehabilitated and solarised three boreholes to improve the efficiency of water output. Thirdly, water committees were established and trained at each borehole to improve the use and management of water in the community. Fourthly, the community members proposed scoping the Sikalenge ward’s six weir dams: Musenampongo, Samende, Mukuula, Makuupula, Damba and Pungwe. Through community agency, mobilisation and organisation, they contributed US$600 to buy cement and hire the grader to scoop – deepen and widen the Samende Weir Dam to harvest and store much water throughout the year. Unfortunately, the money is not yet enough to hire the services of the grader.

Describe the project's impact

The project contributes to serving the lives of both people and livestock by providing portable water.

  • For example, approximately 2 713 females and 2 200 males were threatened with death had the project not helped the Sikalenge villagers access water as their constitutional right. In addition, 4 453 cattle and 8 884 goats can die due to water scarcity threatening people’s livelihood, affecting 1 698 households.
  • The project is also improving the community’s standard of living by embarking on nutrition gardens which increase household incomes by selling vegetables and improving dietary diversity and nutrition security within households. Thus, the project contributes to economic development and enhances food and nutrition security.
  • For example, 1 333 boys and 1 411 girls will have access to clean drinking water, and this will reduce absenteeism, especially by the girl children who face the brunt of unpaid care work in rural areas. Besides reducing absenteeism, the project will promote quality and a high pass rate, leading to most girls completing secondary education because the project contributes to promoting a conducive learning environment in the four primary and four secondary schools in the Sikalenge Ward.

The water scarcity is a direct consequence of climate change and climate variability, now known to be linked to the El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon in the southern Pacific Ocean, resulting in the community’s six weir dams, that is, Musenampongo, Samende, Mukuula, Makuupula, Damba and Pungwe in the ward becoming dry before the next rain season.

The change maker will use the award fund to scoop Samende Weir Dam to improve the project’s impact by storing water throughout the year to sustain livestock, school, and community gardens. Scooping of the Samende Weir Dam – estimated cost 1. Purchase of cement @ US12 per bag x 25 bags US$300 – 00 2. Hiring the grader @ US700 x 1 grader US$700 – 00 3. Community labour US$1016 – 00 4. Community contributions US$600 – 00 Total US$2616 – 00

Please read a chapter by Mweembe on the project