A social accountability committee that was trained by Heal Zimbabwe in social accountability in Manicaland has made strides in addressing looming water shortages in Chipinge West Ward 1 and Buhera South Ward 33. On 30 March 2019, Greater Birchenough Water Committee convened a feedback dialogue at Maunganidze Information Centre in Ward 1, Chipinge West constituency. The meeting was attended by 14 Village Heads, 2 Councilors, 6 Village Health Workers, 1 District Development Fund (DDF) representative and 1 Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) representative. The dialogue meeting was also attended by 165 community members.
The objective of the dialogue was to give feedback to the community on the engagement efforts of the committee to address water shortages in the two wards. The committee was birthed through an elective process where the community chose representatives who were going to engage the various stakeholders to ensure that water challenges in the two areas were addressed. The committee was then trained by Heal Zimbabwe in Social accountability and good leadership. In the past, the committee successfully engaged the Buhera and Chipinge District Development Fund (DDF), Buhera and Chipinge Rural District Councils (RDCs) and Manicaland Province ZINWA office on the need to rehabilitate the existing boreholes and reservoirs. It is against such a background that the social accountability committee mobilized the community from the two wards to give a comprehensive feedback on the progress it had made in its engagement efforts.
The Committee reported that it managed to facilitate the repairing of seven boreholes in Ward 33 after it was given 36 borehole pipes by the DDF.Added to this, the committee also managed to facilitate the refurbishment of 6 boreholes in Ward 1 and managed to facilitate for the increase in pumped water by ZINWA for community members in Ward 33 (Buhera South). Due to the committees’ tactical engagement, Birchenough Bridge ZINWA station further installed a new high-pressure pump leading to the availability of piped water in Ward 33.Of special mention is the drilling of two boreholes by ZINWA in Ward 1 (Chipinge West) on 28 March 2019 after successful lobbying and engagement by the committee.
The dialogue resolved that the committee was supposed to continue closely monitoring ZINWA’s commitments on the supply of piped water in the area. Community members also tasked local Councillors to engage their respective RDCs and find an amicable solution to the continued sale of unserviced residential stands since this was increasing pressure on local boreholes. Village head Maunganidze from ward 1 further lamented the sale of unserviced stands by the RDC highlighting that it led to water shortages.”Government should ensure that RDCs stop selling stands that are not serviced as this has serious implications on the few boreholes that we have. Rather RDCs must work with other stakeholders to ensure that potable water is available since access to safe, clean and potable water is a right enshrined in the constitution “he said.
The Social Accountability dialogues are part of Heal Zimbabwe’s advocacy initiative that seeks to promote social cohesion in local communities. Cohesive communities help establish harmony so that people are tolerant of each other and live together in peace. Added to this, the dialogues also seek to bring the voices of citizens into governance, enabling citizens to monitor and provide feedback on the delivery of services, and helping to build trust between rights holders and duty bearers. In light of this, Heal Zimbabwe will continue to campaign robustly for a national dialogue that must be premised on adequate inclusion right from the grassroots. More importantly is inclusion of women in the dialogue since they have suffered the brunt of political violence during successive episodes of political conflict in the country.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe