Pumping water for life in Zimbabwe
Cecilia Nedziwe, of the Centre for Peace Initiatives and a former Rotary World Peace Fellow, visits the Rotary water project's pump well at Mupamombe school in Zimbabwe. Photo courtesy of Stein Nørve
Amid famine, water scarcity, disease outbreaks, and rampant inflation in Zimbabwe, six Rotary clubs in as many countries are bringing hope to people there.
The project is establishing water wells and vegetable and tree gardens at seven schools in the country. A US$6,650 Rotary Foundation Matching Grant, combined with sponsor contributions, has provided a total of $16,950 in funding for the effort.
The project began in 2007, sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Grenaa and Grenaa-Djurs, Denmark; Tûri, Estonia; Grossefehn/Wiesmoor, Germany; Drøbak, Norway; and Hunyani, Zimbabwe. Recent support has also come from the Rotary Club of Åmål, Sweden.
Pump Aid, a nongovernmental organization, is managing installation and maintenance of the wells. Environment Africa, another NGO, oversees creation of the gardens, designed to help feed area residents and provide some with a livelihood. The organization is headed by Charlene Hewat, of the Hunyani club.
"The technology is simple and efficient and requires no special technical skills," says Stein Nørve, a member of the Drøbak club. "The pumps may be operated manually by anyone."
In 2008, Cecilia Nedziwe assessed the project's progress in the course of her work as manager of operations for the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa. At the Mupamombe school, she found the water pump functioning efficiently and workers planting seeds in the garden.
"There was life and happiness around, and I was delighted to see everyone smiling and extending their gratefulness to Rotary for supporting the well project," said Nedziwe, who is based in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, and is a former Rotary World Peace Fellow (Zimbabwe to Australia, 06-08).
She found the situation similar at three of the other four schools. Only at the school in Kwayedza was the well for the pump yet to be completed. Two wells are also scheduled for installation at other schools.
Nedziwe said that the project is vital, "given the level of humanitarian crisis in the country. The project is making a difference and saving many lives."