WASHE project brings change
Now that she no longer has to spend so much time collecting water Rosemary can tend to her vegetables.
Credit: WaterAid / Jon Spaull
WaterAid in Zambia is a supporter of the Government’s WASHE (water, sanitation, hygiene and education) policy which calls for the integration provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services.
WaterAid works with the district committees to help implement the policy. One main area of its work is to help communities create focus villages, where water, sanitation and hygiene projects run simultaneously.
These villages are then used as showcases, which other communities visit to see what they too could achieve.
Sichiyanda is one such village in the Monze district, made up of 41 households. The project in the village began in 2001 and the community worked together to dig a well with dedicated bucket and windlass.
Now we have the well and so the water is much cleaner than before. It
is also closer now which means that I have more time to harvest food in
my field and can also work more around the home.
Hygiene education is taking place and 28 latrines have already been constructed with more underway. They are built in a mixture of styles depending on the type of latrines that each family wants and can afford.
Rosemary Mande, the chairlady for hygiene in the village, and a trained latrine builder, describes the differences that the project has made: “We used to have to collect our water from a stream, where we would dig holes in the sand and let the water flow through into pools. The water still wasn’t clean but at least the sand would filter it a bit. It used to take me an hour each time I went there, and I went three times a day in the morning, afternoon and evening. The water from the river had germs in it and so it often made us sick.
“Now we have the well and so the water is much cleaner than before. It is also closer now which means that I have more time to harvest food in my field and can also work more around the home. We still use the old source, but only to water our gardens as they are next to the river.
“I am the chairlady for hygiene in this village. We regularly promote good hygiene promotion - we promote keeping areas clean by building dish racks and rubbish pits and making sure that there are no stagnant pools of water where mosquitoes can breed.
“We also promote washing hands at critical times, like before eating and after going to the latrine. Diseases like diarrhea have decreased here because of the good hygiene we are now using.
“I am also one in a team of six latrine builders. I helped build our family latrine first - so we showed we could do it. It was a family affair, the boys helped to dig too. It is a ventilated improved pit latrine. It took about four days to dig it, and two days to build the structure around it. We are really happy that we are able to do it ourselves.
“Before I just used to use the bush, but since having the latrine it is so much cleaner. Flies used to land in the bush, and then follow us back to the village bringing the dirt with them. Now this doesn't happen - and it is cleaner and safer. This year we hope we can help everyone else build latrines as well. Being able to do this makes us feel really good and positive about our futures.
“There are three children and three grandchildren in my household. They are much healthier now - we have seen real improvements here. The surroundings are much cleaner now as well. Before the dogs used to lick the plates, but now they are all on dish racks instead and the dogs can't reach them.
“Everyone here is happier now and we have all got involved in the project. In the future I want to see us continue to improve our health situation and continue to improve our development.”
Rosemary, who is the chairlady for hygiene in the village, promotes hygiene education in her community.
Credit: WaterAid / Jon Spaull
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