Photo by Africare-Zambia
The community approach!
Fact: Roughly 60% of the rural population in Zambia has no access to a safe water supply or proper sanitation facility. In some Districts, more than 80% of the population does not have access to water and sanitation (UNICEF-Zambia report).
Those facts are beginning to change. Africare-Zambia is working with United Nations Children Emergency Fund and Water for All to improve the sanitary conditions of basic schools in four of districts of Zambia, promoting school gardening, community sensitizations of issues related to hygiene and the provision of clean and safe drinking water. Thanks to the water and sanitation program, the Mazambuka District (which had perennial diarrheal cases of about 35 – 40%) has recorded 0% cases in the last rainy season!
The impact and positive results of the water and sanitation program is attributable to the approach that Africare-Zambia uses in the community. The key element is partnership, not only with funders but with the beneficiaries themselves. Partnering with communities ensures easy adoption and sustainability of programs. Africare-Zambia staff train community members to equip them with skills to take charge of the programs themselves.
One such example is a young girl named Patience Mwape, a 15-year old ninth grader. She is a Peer Educator of a sanitation program at Matumbusa Basic School, Mansa District. Three months after being trained by Africare staff, she began teaching a “Knowledge, Attitude and Practice” approach to twenty-eight members of her community. The approach focuses on hand washing, digging latrines, refuse collection and disposal, and proper latrine use. Partnering and involving the youth in the program may be challenging, however, it helps to have a young generation equipped with knowledge. When asked why and how Patience does her community sensitization work, she responded:
“Well, there used to be a lot diarrheal diseases in my village and children mostly died. So I decided to join the Peer Educators’ group and got trained by Africare to help change the attitudes and bad sanitary practices. It is not always easy to talk to people, being a girl and young. Nonetheless, I assess the sanitary conditions of a given household to see if is in line with the “Knowledge, Attitude and Practice” approach. If the conditions are not good, I go there, first with a totally different story before finally hitting the nail on its head! So far I have succeeded in doing this with twenty-eight members just in three months.”