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Empowering Women for Health: the Success Story of Clean Water Initiatives in Rural Villages

In the heart of rural Mbwindi parish, where life flows with the rhythm of nature, a critical issue plagued the community – the absence of clean water. Villagers, reliant on streams for their water needs, found themselves entangled in a web of waterborne diseases. The situation demanded action, and the community decided to address it head-on. Sr Rose Mbewe, from Zambia, an ambassador of the World Women’s Observatory, shares the details on the journey to making access to clean drinking water possible.

Recognizing the urgent need for change, a gathering was called, primarily with women—the unsung heroes responsible for drawing water in this community. Their voices echoed a unanimous cry for clean water, a fundamental necessity often taken for granted. Understanding that water is life, the community collectively decided to draft a project proposal seeking support to drill boreholes, a sustainable solution to their water crisis.

The collaborative effort extended beyond the proposal. The community, driven by a shared vision, contributed local materials, emphasising their commitment to improving their living conditions. The beacon of hope arrived when Manos Unidas, an organisation that forms part of the World Women’s Observatory network, embraced their project, acknowledging the gravity of the situation. Financial support followed, enabling the commencement of the borehole drilling initiative.

Six years of unwavering dedication unfolded as the community worked hand in hand with Manos Unidas. The goal was ambitious but essential – to provide access to clean, safe water for all. Local women, who bore the responsibility of fetching water, played a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of this initiative.

Today, the fruits of this labour are evident as Mbwindi parish witnesses a transformative change. Ten boreholes stand tall, delivering not just water but hope and health to the community. The once-rising tide of waterborne diseases has receded, replaced by the gentle flow of clean, safe water.

In a culture where women are the custodians of water-fetching duties, involving them in the decision-making process proved pivotal. Their insights and experiences illuminated the path towards a sustainable solution, underscoring the importance of inclusive community engagement. An important part of the work of the World Women’s Observatory network is understanding and working to address the plight of women, work that is at the fore of responding to the water crisis faced by Mbwindi parish.

Gratitude echoes through Mbwindi parish as they reflect on the journey undertaken with Manos Unidas. The organisation's unwavering commitment to assisting the underprivileged has manifested in tangible, life-altering ways for this community.

As we celebrate this triumph over adversity, let it be a testament to the power of collaboration, determination, and the transformative impact that clean water can have on the lives of those who need it most. Mbwindi parish stands not just as a recipient of aid but as a beacon of resilience, illustrating that positive change is possible when communities and organisations unite for a common cause.


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