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Water Aid Zambia Blog 2015 Day Four

Zambia 2015 day 4                                                                                                            Day Four
Our first stop on Wednesday’s itinerary was the Kanzungula District Council where we met with the council treasurer and project officers involved in rural and school Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) projects. This district borders Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe and, despite its vast rural spread, is very consistent in upholding formal traditions and rituals. Each person was greeted with a handshake by each council member and invited to make a formal introduction in turn by the council treasurer.

Zambia 2015 Day 4So far the council has completed works in four wards (communities) to implement solutions to the water and sanitation issues they are facing. These include boreholes, latrines and WASH education programmes. Work is currently underway in three other wards in the district. The council members, and especially their newly appointed WASH project officer, were very appreciative of the work we are doing in Scottish Water to support WaterAid. The projects underway would not be possible without partnerships such as ours.
Salty water is a major challenge for the district due to high evaporation levels above ground and the rock formations the water is filtered through below ground. The projects they have planned should provide a sustainable solution to this.

Zambia 2015 Day 4
From the offices we braved the dusty desert tracks to the Mamboova solar powered scheme. The water source for this scheme is an oxbow lake fed by the magnificent Zambezi river. The water is pumped from here to a system very similar to those we have back home with sand filtration in place and an automatic chlorination pump. The treated water is then distributed by more solar powered pumps to the local communities.

Zambia 2015 day 4To help understand the benefits of this scheme and the remaining challenges facing the local communities, we had the privilege of an audience with His Royal Highness Chief Sekute and his councillors. He has authority over a fifth of the District. The local traditions surrounding this visit showed the respect and importance of cultural heritage to the community. On approach we were asked to kneel and clap to gain entry into his palace which was followed by clapping rituals before each person spoke. We were then seated and addressed by the Prime Minister who thanked us for our support and the changes this has brought to the Chiefs people. Thanks to the scheme the people no longer have to fetch water from the banks of the lake where they, in particular the children, were at risk from crocodile attacks. Gifts were exchanged between our group and His Royal Highness to symbolise our common goal of providing access to safe water, education and sanitation to all. On exiting all were asked to continue facing the Chief and back out of the palace, bowing and clapping so as not to cause disrespect.

Zambia 2015 day 4Our final journey of the day took us to the rural area of Nampongo where we met the local Primary school pupils and teachers. They have received new toilet and hand washing facilities and are awaiting the drilling of a borehole in the coming weeks thanks to WaterAid. We were reminded of the importance of proper sanitary facilities as the young girls are no longer too embarrassed to attend school at their time of the month as proper wash facilities are available.The local pupils were only too happy to demonstrate correct hand washing procedures and also treated us to some traditional dancing and singing. One young boy called Friday spoke for the class to express their gratitude and excitement at meeting visitors from Scottish Water and from the homeland of David Livingstone.