By Lungelo Ndhlovu
DROUGHT-prone communities in Nkayi-Singeni village’s Ward 25 in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland North province, no longer worry about walking long distances to fetch water or traveling 10 kilometres to Kwekwe for dipping their cattle due to solar energy.
Community members said they now spend most of their productive time working in their nutritional gardens.
“Before, we had a serious challenge of clean water. We used to scoop water from the sand in rivers when there was a drought. Sometimes we travelled about seven kilometres to fetch water from wells but now we spend all that time in our gardens,” said Molina Moyo, the chairperson, who looks after Tap 4.
The Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF)-Matabeleland Enhanced Livelihoods Agriculture and Nutrition Adaptation (MELANA) project, was launched to work with communities of Nkayi, Bubi, Umguza and Umzingwane districts, to break the cycle of poverty and food insecurities in communities.
“Through MELANA, we benefited a solar-powered dip-tank and a 30,000-litre borehole which flows into our tap systems for the school and our homesteads. Members of our community are doing serious sorghum farming,” said Elmon Sibanda, Singeni councillor for Ward 25.
ZRBF-MELANA markets adviser, Rodney Mushongachiware, said they were focusing on promotion of small grain production in Nkayi District, as these are more drought-tolerant and can sustain the people during dry spells.
“We are encouraging seed banks of local genetically-preserved seeds as a fallback plan so that when the initial seed fails to germinate, one can still go to the seed bank for another seed and re-sow,” he said.
The programme began in July 2016 and will end in March 2021.
“Working with MELANA project, we installed nine taps in our homesteads, and 117 household are benefiting from the water system. We have 1,702 stock owners utilising the dip-tank.
“We have averted serious problems such as diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases and we are very grateful for this project,” said Enock Moyo, the chairmen of the dip-tank.
Enock Moyo showcasing the piped water piped system in Nkayi. (Picture by Lungelo Ndhovu)
MELANA program is a long-term development initiative supported by the Lands and Agriculture ministry with funding from the European Union, Embassy of Sweden, United Nations Development Programme and the United Kingdom Development for International Development to the tune of US$80 million.