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facilitates all stakeholder solution to WASH crisis
Ministry of Water Resources, Development & Management
March 22, 2009
indicating that the cholera crisis in Zimbabwe is reaching the proportions
of a genocide, the new Minister of Water Resources, Development
and Management, the Hon. Sam Sipepa Nkomo, organised a Water Summit
for all Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) stakeholders in Bulawayo
on Friday, March 20.
It drew 167
participants from the public, private and NGO sectors, all of whom
agreed to work together to resolve the WASH crisis affecting urban
and rural Zimbabwe. The Minister assured stakeholders that they
would find an open door at his ministry, in line with the new government's
belief in participatory democracy.
"I will form a
Ministry Advisory Council to sit with the permanent secretary and
me on a monthly basis so that we don't get lost. Let's
walk with those NGOs who deliver water: let's do things together,"
he said. He added that he would shortly be announcing a new, gender
sensitive board for ZINWA.
The emergency recovery
programme, launched the previous day, has rehabilitation of boreholes
as a primary objective, to help women trudging many miles to collect
water and children dying of disease. The Hon. Gordon Moyo, Minister
of State for Presidential Affairs in the President's Office,
made this point in his keynote address and said: "There will
no longer be a government monopoly in service delivery: the ministry
should identify aspects where the private sector can deliver.
conclusion of this summit, sharpen the resolution to make everyone
aware of water's role in our lives, its ability to create
growth in a way that puts people back at the centre of the issue.
Let us work together - the Prime Minister's office and government
is engaging the international community so we can take Zimbabwe
back into the community of nations: it is not government policy
to deride other countries."
WASH specialist, Max Jonga, presented a comprehensive report on
what the WASH cluster believed were the problems and solutions to
the crisis. The permanent secretary, Eng. R. J. Chitsiko, was delighted
with the report and pleased to find out that the WASH Cluster existed.
Speaker after speaker
highlighted the problems: no chemicals, no repairs, no tools, no
spares, no vehicles, no fuel, poor staffing levels and communications.
While things have improved slightly since the handing back of responsibility
for water and sewage to the municipalities - no sewage was
treated during the ZINWA era - only 40 per cent of the water
required is being delivered and 20 per cent of the sewage treated,
according to Jones Nanhambwe, director of engineering services with
everything to work now but the people who came back from ZINWA came
with nothing: no pipes, no chemicals, no vehicles, no shoes and
worst of all no income - and a poor attitude. Communities
do not take responsibility for their infrastructure - a ZESA
transformer was stolen 12 metres from a councillor's house
and nothing was done to stop this," he said.
All speakers -
engineers like Peter Morris, Peter Smith and Dr Sasha Jogi, ministry
representatives, NGOs and municipal engineers - agreed that
emergency solutions would not be hugely expensive nor take time
to implement and that the required skills are still available in
"We need to fix
the leaks, repair burnt out switchboard and damaged pumps and get
water moving to communities and through the sewers," Morris,
a partner with Ncube Burrows Consulting Engineers, said. Jeff Broome,
now with Ove Arup in the UK, flew out from Britain to share his
experiences on the Accounting for Water project he undertook for
Bulawayo agreed, saying that key deliverables are organising plumbers
with tools, materials and correct information to solve problems.
Jochen Hertle, a freelance
consultant on the rural water supply project funded by the European
Commission, Humanitarian Aid/Welthungerhilfe - GAA, believes
that the entire rural water network could be repaired for between
US$15 to 20 million. His project has repaired some 10,000 rural
boreholes in total - some 20 per cent of the total - and in
its current phase trained 2,125 voluntary pump minders and 7,472
water pump committees. He believes that a properly equipped DDF,
working with an experienced Zimbabwean consultancy, could resolve
the problems fast.
In his presentation the
permanent secretary outlined the situation on the ground and dealt
with the challenges his ministry faced. Eng. Israel Rwodzi, ZINWA's
director of maintenance and engineering services, gave an overview
of the catchment areas and the situation with the country's
dams. The Hon. Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, Minister of Local Government,
Urban and Rural Development, commended the initiative and promised
to adopt the holistic farming approach presented by Alan Savory,
founder of the International Centre for Holistic Management.
Tal Hoesler from the
Canadian Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology presented
an effective and economical home water filter, details of which
are available from One Way Ministries.
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