Wednesday, January 5

"Water Project Gives Zambian Community A Clean Start"

In many villages in Southern Africa, women and children often have to walk long distances to fetch water (image courtesy of alertnet.org)

Alertnet.org, explains why officials closed a school in the Zambian village of Macha, due to a lack of appropriate sanitation facilities:

". . . 72 per cent of the population was using the bush for toilet, 82 per cent did not have refuse pits and more than 60 per cent were using water from the river. With people unable to practice good hygiene, rates of oral faecal diseases were high."

Ultimately, the Red Cross educated the villagers about hygiene and provided boreholes and sanitary platforms. Unfortunately, the article failed to mention that boreholes are notoriously fickle, and villagers are rarely able to afford replacement parts (or soap, for that matter). Also, they often feel no sense of ownership ("The borehole belongs to the Red Cross, not us") and refuse to make needed repairs. Nevertheless, kudos to the Red Cross for their hard work!

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