January 29, 2023

Bringing water closer to residents

Shamiso Masanha

Clive Makumbe

Gweru, ZimbabweMembers of Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) in ward 9 have played the leading role in sorting out the main problem at their village’s access to drinking water.

Mkoba village 1 has one functional borehole which supplies over 10,000 residents.

This has lead to the formation of the fundraising and lobby group to come up with effective long-term solutions.

They were facing a water crisis for many years, compelling them to fetch water from Mkoba 1 police station thereby leading to the arrest of five women for needing water to do their household chores.

This forced GRRA members to discuss the water situation as it concerned the survival and health of residents.

During the lobby meeting, GRRA members informed the councilor of the ward about the unsafe water they were drinking and its consequences but the councilor did nothing to assist the residents while telling them about the financial constraints that the local authority faces.

The members of GRRA did not stop their advocacy campaign as they were the ones who were facing problems related to water in their daily lives.

They planned to directly lobby with the Gweru City Council (GCC). They submitted the demand letter and meet the Mayor of Gweru, Cllr Josiah Makombe.

“We kept on following  with our demand and issues during meetings with the Mayor continuously,” Shamiso Masanha (pictured).

After the regular coordination and follow up, the local authority allocated land and installed a water tape.

Women are very happy seeing the clean drinking water coming from land. The women have been able to
save their time to fetch water from river and are now have direct access to safe water.

They are now able to give time in income generation activity and other areas of work.

Most importantly, they do not have to face the problem of communicable diseases any longer.

“Due to regular follow ups and coordination, we have been successful. It has eased our work load and made our life simple. We would like to thank everyone involved in this process,” says, Ritai Chirapata a resident of Village of Village 1.

This successful lobbying and advocacy have set an example for other communities as well.

Their determination has amplified women’s profile and influence in dialogues and decision-making on water management and water infrastructures.