By Vincent Gunde
The study which was conducted by Self Help Africa in the areas of Traditional Authorities Dzoole and Mkukula in Dowa district has shown that the status of water points in the district is at 71 percent proving itself that there is a gap of 29 percent in terms of sustainability of water points.
Self Help Africa (SHA) has been implementing WASH project, a package of water supply, sanitation and hygiene.
Under the water supply, the organization is drilling new boreholes, constructing piped water system as well as rehabilitating non-functional and semi-functional boreholes which are about 30 percent focusing on sanitation and hygiene.
The organization’s project is mainly focusing on water supply, its Donor Charity: Water is investing much in water supply has come up with a strategy to improve functionality of water points in Dowa district, this is a pilot project “Professionalizing Rural Water Supply Maintenance.
WASH Project Manager for Self Help Africa- Dowa Chifundo Mandala, said professionalizing rural water supply maintenance is a strategy which can be used by the district to sustain functionality of boreholes and other water points by moving from a basic maintenance to professional maintenance.
Mandala said the project will be implemented for 12 months focusing on building capacity for the District Water Office to overall monitor functionality of all water points in the district and providing equipment to the office such as computers and smartphones that would ease data collection and analysis for easy decision making.
He said the project will also empower and give capacity to Area Mechanics at community level by providing them with smartphones and push bikes for easy mobility to provide the maintenance services to the communities.
Additionally, the project will also extend the services provided by Area Mechanics and improve the way they report.
The Project Manager said the project will also focus on water users for them to understand the importance of paying for the water services as water services are not for free expressing hope that after understanding, they will increase an adoption of service level agreement contracts between Area Mechanics and the community over maintenance of the boreholes.
“The project will conduct more sensitization meetings to the communities to increase adoption and signing of service level agreement with the Area Mechanic to provide a professional maintenance for their boreholes,” said Mandala.
In her remarks, Dowa District Council’s Director of Planning and Development Mercy Mpakule, expressed that the project will enhance efficiency in provision of safe water services.
She further expressed hope that the project will achieve its intended outcomes appealing to government sectors to support the project.
Mpakule advised Self Help Africa to get a borehole drilling license from National Water Resources Authority (NWRA) as this is a government directive that all boreholes drilled in the district either by the council or partners must meet the required set standards by the NWRA.
She again encouraged Self Help Africa to be providing the project’s progress reports to District executive committee (DEC] for the purpose of enhancing cooperation, transparency and accountability of the project being implemented in the district.
Self Help Africa will implement Professionalizing Rural Water Supply Maintenance Project for a period of 12 months in Dowa district with support from Charity: Water amounting to 200,000 US Dollars which is approximately K210,400,000.