Using Water Mission's solar-powered Potable Water Chlorinator, built to endure even the harshest environments, the system covers both the health center's needs and the surrounding community. The project also included training and supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. Also, mobilizing the community around this project has been essential for securing a lasting and reliable answer in this water-stressed area. After several visits to the community, Water Mission reported that "support from the elected Safe Water Committee and community leaders has been exceptional," guaranteeing the system's maintenance needs and its financial sustainability. Most importantly, the committee couldn't be more enthusiastic about this new system's benefits to the community.
Water is a fundamental human right, and witnessing a water-stressed community's access to Safe Water improve only means relief when we guarantee that this constitutes a long-term solution with lasting impact. So learning that Water Mission will soon be transitioning this project to its Rural Water Cooperative (RWC) program, which will mean keeping "safe water flowing for at least five years," makes us very optimistic.
And for the five years ahead, our biggest hope is that the Engucwini Health Centre can continue to provide its essential healthcare services without having to invest time and resources in fetching water, and consequently, that the members of this community can also spend less time working on how to address their water scarcity issues. Bester Zimba, Engucwini Healthcare Operations Manager, described it as having a tremendous impact on education and school attendance, an example of the life-changing importance of having access to safe water. It can never be taken for granted, even if most of us have been fortunate enough never to have experienced its lack in the Global North. The testimonials from this community's members should remind us of the significance of fighting to have this human right realized everywhere.
"Water is readily available and close by that I do not spend much time fetching water but dedicate it to other issues equally important to my family unlike before. Now, water is cheap. Before, it was more expensive. And we are not under pressure to release money we pay freely and willingly. The taps are user-friendly. We do not use too much strength to fetch water; hence our bodies are not weak. Water-related illnesses have been reduced because we are using treated water, and it's readily available. Our children are no longer absent from school. Before, they spent much of their time helping out to fetch water which was far, in the end, missing classes. I am so happy that we have this water here. So thankful for this project."Annie Chiumia, hospital attendant, mother of four
"Practicing good hygiene & sanitation was a challenge. We used to reuse water several times even if it was dirty, putting our lives at risk of WASH-related illnesses. The coming in of the Safe Water Project will enable my family to follow good hygiene and sanitation practices. This will help to prevent WASH-related illnesses. I used to wake up early to search for water, but now I am free. I can sleep with peace trusting to wake up and fetch water any time I want. We will be able to save money for other development things. My children used to wake up early together with me to fetch water before going to school. They were usually late and sleeping in class due to fatigue. This will be history, and I hope for more performance than before. I am so thankful for the provision of Safe Water; now I can participate in other activities other than spending the whole time in search of water."Lea Botha, farmer, mother of three