Piped Water scheme celebrated in Mutare District

“My singing is because I am grateful." Nyamajura is now like any other urban city because we have running tap water right at our doorsteps.

John Mokwetsi
Tap with running water
UNICEF Zimbabwe/2018/Shepherd Mutsiwegota

05 December 2018

Manicaland, Zimbabwe, 28 August 2018-Sarah Sunhwa (77) Nyamajura village, in Mutare district, Manicaland province, Eastern Zimbabwe, who used to walk for more than four kilometres daily just to fetch five litres of water, bursts into an ululation that develops into a joyous song as she joins other villagers sitting by the water pump station that now distributes water via pipes to her doorstep.

Sarah is one of the 1,283 people, among them 638 school-going who have relied on two hand-driven boreholes for safe water of which one was constantly malfunctioning.

Sarah spoke animatedly: “My legs have given way to old age and can no longer carry me for long distances. I used to walk for a long distance with my five-litre container because that is all I could manage. My singing is because I am grateful.  Nyamajura is now like any other urban city because we have running tap water right at our doorsteps.”

solar panel
UNICEF Zimbabwe/2018/Shepherd Mutsiwegota
A solar base station that powers the water pumps at Nyamajura, which is one of the villages benefitting from the Rural WASH programme aimed at empowering members of the community to protect, maintain and repair their boreholes.

Piped water scheme

Nyamajura communal area has a population of nearly 200 households with a growth rate of 3,2% per annum.  Nyamajura water supply was once used by white settlers in the 1980s and was then used by the community from 1983 and later by the two schools, hence its collapse due to reasons including unaccountability and vandalism of pipes. The electric pump system would feed water into a tank at the business centre and into two open roofed brick reservoirs.

Nyamajura is one of the villages benefitting from the Rural WASH programme aimed at empowering members of the community to protect, maintain and repair their boreholes.  Under the programme, Care International, a UNICEF implementing partner has assisted in resuscitating the Nyamajura community piped water scheme to necessitate access to safe water.

Since 2012, UNICEF has been supporting the Government of Zimbabwe, through the Rural WASH programme which is funded by the UK government through the Department of International Development (DFID) and the Swiss Development Corporation, to provide equitable and sustainable access to clean water, improved sanitation and adoption of good hygiene practices among the poor and vulnerable rural population in Zimbabwe. To date, $US52 million has been contributed towards the programme.

The piped water scheme in Nyamajura became fully functional in June 2018. Using a solar-powered pump system, water is pumped into one of the five tanks that then feed 17 water taps dotted throughout the villages. The piped water scheme removes the burden of distance as water taps are now within a manageable radius from the nearest households.

Two ladies seated
UNICEF Zimbabwe/2018/Shepherd Mutsiwegota
Sarah Sunhwa (right) Nyamajura village of in Mutare district, used to walk for more than four kilometres to fetch water. She is happy that a water pump station now distributes water via pipes to her doorstep.

Water is precious

Gideon Mafunga, the chairman of Nyamajura village said:

Safe water and the hygiene it brings in like a simple thing as bathing or washing hands after using the toilet can be taken for granted, but not by us.

For years we crowded with schoolchildren on this water point and often a 78-year-old like me would just abandon it. Now we have access to safe water and this has given us a good standing as a community.”

It is a point that was also reinforced by Onis Mashizha, the Chair of the Water Point Committee, which oversees the management of water facilities in the villages when he said: “Water is a precious natural resource, vital for life, development and the environment. However, when it is inadequate in either quantity or quality, it can be a limiting factor in poverty alleviation and economic recovery, resulting in poor health and low productivity, food insecurity and constrained economic development.”