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CIS helps bring clean water to remote villages in Zambia

16th July - Valencia.

Water for Life in Chitungulu – Fundación Livingstone, CIS and Makolekole

Bringing clean, safe water to remote villages in the Luangwa Valley in a way that enables residents to avoid human/wildlife conflict and ensures that the communities benefit from and engage with wildlife conservation as well as improving health, school attendance, productivity, all round well-being and quality of life – especially for women and children – the traditional water collectors.

Around 11,000 people live in the scattered villages of Chitungulu in Eastern Zambia. The communities live largely at subsistence level depending on growing their own food - mainly maize and sorghum, and there are limited opportunities for employment or enterprise. Only a fraction has access to clean, safe water. 

Livingstone Foundation together with CIS have joined with Makolekole Drilling to help to tackle this problem by drilling boreholes to make four more deepwater wells at Braimu, Isaac, Jokoniah and Roan Villages.  

There are more villages North of Chitungulu – even more remote than Chitungulu. The Mapamba Villages in Chief Chifunda’s area consist of more scattered settlements with approximately 4000 residents who live cheek by jowl with the wildlife of the Chifunda plains and neighbouring North Luangwa National Park. Adrian has known Jokoniah Village  in the Mapamba area for many years and has seen how difficult life can been living in such close proximity to the wildlife.

 It is a continuing and seemingly unanswerable question – how to protect wildlife from people – but also how to protect people from destructive wildlife so that residents benefit from conservation rather than keep losing crops and even members of the community to the destructive force of animals - elephants in particular.

“One of the most important aspects of wildlife conservation is to get the co-operation of the local community. It has been shown that this is not possible unless they can receive material benefit from their wildlife.”    Norman Carr 1958  Luangwa Valley.

Conservation is at the heart of what we do and providing communities with safe access to clean, plentiful water is one of the most effective ways to help avoid one of the most serious ‘flashpoints’ of human/wildlife conflict – collecting water. Women and children are injured and sometimes even killed going for water.  

At Jokoniah Village the women and children collect water from these shallow river bed ‘wells’.

UNICEF millennium development goal:

‘In order for children and families to benefit from clean water and sanitation, water points and sanitation facilities must be accessible. Distance is critical because the shorter the distance to clean water, the more consistently it will be utilised. Furthermore, as fetching water is a task most commonly assigned to girls and women, shortening the distance between households and water supply is essential to reduce the time girls spend in fetching water, which in turn will provide them with more time to attend school.’

Not only are the dangers of water borne diseases now things of the past, but also now the women and children have more time for education, sports, farming and other pastimes.  The communities in which we install our boreholes create productive vegetable gardens which produce more than enough for their own needs and dramatically improve nutrition. The excess is sold locally providing useful cash income and adding to food security. The Headman of the community creates a borehole committee which is responsible for security, upkeep and maintenance to ensure sustainability.

Each borehole means that a community of around 200 men, women and children, instead of travelling miles to dangerous rivers or scooping dirty water from shallow wells, can access clean, safe water - for life. 

If you would like to learn more or find out how you can help with projects like this, please email john.ryan@cis-ee.com.