For the rural communities living in Nsefu Chiefdom, a hot and dry valley in the Luangwa ecosystem, accessing clean and safe drinking water is a challenge. Balancing plastic buckets on their heads, women will sometimes walk several kilometers to collect water, but the water they access may not always be safe, coming from open and exposed water sources.
Through the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP), BCP has begun partnering with local communities in Eastern Province to develop community-led REDD+ projects to protect forests and deliver key impacts based on community needs. The CFP is currently working in 8 Chiefdoms in Eastern Province to identify areas of intact forest for conservation, as well as to implement initial “Partnership Impact Projects,” which are designed to meet critical development needs of local communities. Partnership Impact Projects are intended to demonstrate initial goodwill and commitment from the project, in advance of signing forest protection agreements between communities and government concerning the protection of designated REDD+ areas.
In the case of Nsefu Chiefdom, the community determined that access to safe and clean drinking water is one of their top development needs, and they therefore requested for assistance with the delivery of clean water infrastructure as their initial Partnership Impact Projects through the CFP.
On April 28th 2016, the first well was rehabilitated and capped in Noah Village. Over the course of the next month, 4 more wells were capped and rehabilitated across the Nsefu Chiefdom, totaling an estimated value of 4,500 USD. Community members, especially women who had to previously walk long distances, were excited about this development.
Jeliat Phiri from Noah Village remarked, “In the past we had to walk through five villages which took at least 30 minutes to access water from the nearest well. Now other villages are also coming here to our neighborhood to fetch water! Having a borehole in my home-village has helped me to have more time to take care of my child and other household chores. It is less stressful now that I even have time to relax!”
In Mwangazi Village, Estele Phiri explained, “My village did not have sufficient clean water before the boreholes, now both my village and other nearby villages will benefit hugely from this new water supply.’’
The Headman from Noah Village applauded this project with BCP, hailing it as an improvement to health and sanitation in the area, and an advancement for the women of the community who previously spent much of their day fetching water.
BCP will continue to support the Nsefu Chiefdom through additional Partnership Impact Projects that will bring about positive impacts on both the local community and the local forest.
This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content of this blog are the sole responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.