Lack of information on health and hygiene in rural Zimbabwe causes frequent outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases resulting in sicknesses and death, especially amongst young children. As Australians, when we contract a stomach bug, it’s frustrating and draining, in Zimbabwe it can be fatal.
Diarrhoea is responsible for nearly 1.5 million child deaths each year.
Unfortunately for the rural population of Chivi District in southern Zimbabwe, these problems are intensified as there are not enough clean water sources or hygienic toilets to support the community. Women and girls spend over an hour a day fetching water, a task which takes them away from work and school. Before the start of CARE’s four-year Water Sanitation and Hygiene project, 50 per cent of the population did not have access to adequate sanitation, with a third of the community having no toilet. Diarrhoea is the fourth highest cause of death for children under five in this region.
Impacts on Women and Girls
Makovere Primary School has no taps, no toilets, no water. The head teacher, Mrs Lovejoy, worries constantly about her students, because diarrhoea caused from drinking dirty water can be fatal. Mrs Lovejoy knows all too well that primary school children like eight-year-old Katherine * are extremely vulnerable.
The nearest borehole to Makovere Primary School is a long and hot 5km walk away. Katherine (pictured to the right) has to collect water twice a day, with a 20 litre bucket on her head. “I don’t like collecting water because where I collect the water from is far away,” she says.
Sometimes, the children get so thirsty they go to the nearby river and drink dirty water. Children who drink dirty water can carry up to 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies.
As women are often responsible for a family’s health and hygiene, CARE Australia makes sure they are included in decisions about how water is managed. By placing a focus on women and girls, they are working to bring about better outcomes for families and entire communities.
*CARE is committed to being a child safe organisation. Names of children have been changed.
CARE's Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health Program (WASH)
CARE has been operating in Zimbabwe for over 20 years and has extensive experience in providing clean water to rural communities. Clean water can be the difference between life and death, health and sickness. CARE is working with the people most at risk of dirty water by protecting clean water sources and constructing pumps, boreholes and toilets in schools and communities.
This program also promotes change over the long term by improving attitudes towards hygiene in communities. CARE works with women-led community groups, teachers and village health workers to better educate communities on the importance of washing hands, storing water safely and purifying water for drinking and cooking.
The WASH project will reach 25 schools and communities within the Chivi District and 30,000 people with rehabilitated and new boreholes.
Help us to help CARE
So as part of the Walk to a Better World campaign we will be raising funds to help CARE Australia continue their work in the Chivi District. We hope to raise at least $15,000 to build toilets and handwashing facilities aswell as provide training and rehabilitate as many boreholes as possible.
Below are some examples of how your donation can help:
- $70 can help provide health and hygiene education toolkits for teachers and village health workers
- $110 can rehabilitate a borehole so a community can have access to clean water
- $170 can provide a school with clean handwashing facilities so students can stay healthy
- $265 can help build a latrine at a school
Note: your donation can have five times the impact thanks to generous complementary funding from the Australian government.
By funding this project we can help CARE Australia to remove one more hurdle in the lives of some of the poorest people in the world and reduce the number of women and children dying from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea.
Please note: Donations over $2 are tax deductible through CARE Australia