You are on page 1of 11



Civil Engineering Department, University of Zimbabwe, Box MP167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe Tel/fax +263-4-303288 E-mai: (*Corresponding author) 2 German Agro Action (GAA), 1 Orange Grove Drive, Highlands, Harare, Zimbabwe Tel. : +263-4-497567Fax : +263-4-497567 E-mail: :

An estimated 70% of the national population lives in rural areas in Zimbabwe. Previous studies suggest that groundwater is consumed predominantly without treatment. This study evaluated the sustainability of a rural water point rehabilitation project that was carried out in Mwenezi, Gwanda, Bulilima and Mangwe districts by a local NGO. The study was carried out a year after the rehabilitation project. Sustainability indicators considered in the study included the reliability of the system, human capacity development, institutional arrangements, and the impact of the project on rural livelihoods. A combination of field inspections of the water points and interviews with villagers were used as study tools. It was found out that 13.5% of the water points were broken down in Mwenezi, 17.1% (Gwanda), 13.2% (Bulilima) and 25% (Mangwe). Water quality was satisfactory for taste for over 90% and for 62.2% to 95.1% of respondents for soap consumption in all districts. Trained repair personnel were available in over 50% of the cases. Awareness of the training workshops for operation and maintenance in all districts was above 75%. Water point committees existed and functioned in all districts for 50% to 82.9% of water points. For 84.2% to 92.9% of the responses financial contributions were made only in the event of a breakdown. The walking distance to a water point was reduced after the project according to 82.9% to 100% of respondents in all districts. Health and hygiene knowledge was deemed to have improved due to the project in 46.4% to 78% of cases. It was concluded that opportunities for sustainable water supply are there if active community involvement is enhanced, training is lengthened and water point committees strengthened. There is also need to raise the awareness of ordinary villagers. Future rehabilitation projects should consider stricter supervision and equipping the trained personnel with tools. Key words: sustainability, water point, rural water supply, water point committees, villagers, demand driven; community involvement 1 INTRODUCTION Since 1990, the number of people without access to safe water has remained constant at approximately 1.1 billion (Mintz et al., 2001). At the end of the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (IWSSD), some 1 billion people still lacked access to safe water while some 2 billion lacked access to sanitation services (De Regt, 2005). Over 5 million deaths per year are attributed to water borne diseases according to the World Health organization (De Regt, 2005). At the same time 75% of the worlds poor live in rural areas (De Regt, 2005) and it is in these areas that most deaths occur due to limited access to safe water and sanitation. Improvements in water and sanitation do not automatically result in improved health but addition

of hygiene education is often required to see health impacts materialize (Billig et al., 1999). Therefore hygiene awareness and education are essential parts of water supply and sanitation projects (Duncker, 1999; De Regt, 2005). Real decisions on hygiene awareness and education should be done at community level in order to have the biggest impact. At the 1992 International conference on Water and Environment in Dublin participants endorsed a set of principles advocating for the concept of water as an economic as well as a social good that should be managed at the lowest possible level (Katz and Sara, 1998). Principle 2 of the Dublin conference states that water development and management should be based on a participatory approach involving users, planners and policy makers at all levels. Some experts proclaim that the IWSSD did not achieve the intended goals because it was largely supply driven and not responding to demand, as well as lacking focus on sustainability. Therefore the demand responsive approach, which seeks greater involvement of the beneficiaries, is a direct response to principle 2 of the Dublin principles and also the shortfalls of the IWSSD. Significant involvement of local stakeholders correlates with better replicability and sustainability in outcomes and impacts while on the other hand a lesser degree of participation is associated with a lower likelihood of sustainability (De Regt, 2005). Katz and Sara (1998) also found out that sustainability was higher when demand was expressed directly by household members and not through traditional leaders or community representatives such as water committees or local government. The major challenge of rural water supply projects in developing countries is their long-term sustainability, which is to some extend dependent on community attitudes and participation. In Bangladeshi a lot of government initiated sanitation projects failed because a community-wide spirit did not develop and village wide cooperation were not realized (Hadi, 2000). Therefore to achieve sustainability, water supply and sanitation development requires effective complementary inputs such as community participation, community capacity development and community training (Duncker, 1999). The Sustainability of a service is defined as the capacity to maintain service and benefits, both at the community and agency levels without detrimental effects on the environment, even after special assistance has been phased out. In Africa and Zimbabwe in particular the declining economic state poses yet another dimension to the challenges of sustainable rural water supply projects implemented by both government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The majority of the Zimbabwean population lives in communal areas, where the most common source of water is groundwater (Robinson, 2002). Some 70% of Zimbabwes population live in rural areas (Hoko, 2005). During the IWSSD, the Government of Zimbabwe embarked on a programme to improve water and sanitation in rural areas. The sustainability of the programme has been jeopardized in the last few years by economic decline both at household and national level (Robinson, 2002). Consequently there has been a drastic cut in the governments budgetary allocation for maintenance of rural water infrastructure. This has given rise to the promotion of community based management of rural water and sanitation infrastructure encouraging a demand driven approach, which has gained popularity with a lot of NGOs assisting in the provision of water and sanitation. However this community based approach as Robinson (2002) puts it, comes at a time when the resources of the community are more stretched than ever. This study was carried out in the districts of Mwenezi, Gwanda, Bulilima and Mangwe in the period April to June 2005. It is a follow up to a rehabilitation programme, which was carried out

in the period July 2003 to May 2004. The rehabilitation project involved repair and rehabilitation of existing boreholes as well as drilling of new boreholes. Workshops aimed at improving the technical, managerial, health and hygiene knowledge of villagers formed part of the programme. The study aimed at assessing the sustainability of the rural water point rehabilitation project. In a UNDP-World Bank study by Katz and Sara (1998), indicators for the performance of a water system included physical condition, consumer satisfaction, operations and maintenance, financial management and willingness to sustain the system. Major indicators of sustainability in this study included assessment of the reliability of the system, human capacity development, institutional arrangements, financing of operation and maintenance, and impact on rural livelihoods as suggested by (Narayan, 1993). These aspects were investigated mainly taking villagers as the source of information coupled with observations of the study team. The idea was to assess community involvement at the lowest level as a key aspect to sustainability. The reliability of the system focused on; functioning and state of the water points, operation and maintenance, and perceived water quality. Human capacity development assessed the availability of trained personnel, awareness of the operation and maintenance training workshops and their perceived benefits. Institutional arrangements included existence and functioning of water point committees. Financial arrangements mainly focused on the method of raising funds for operation and maintenance as well as availability and need for additional resources. The impact on rural livelihoods was studied by assessing perceptions on walking distances, and reduction of waterborne diseases. 2 METHODOLOGY The methods in this study included physical inspection of the water points by the study team and questionnaires. Questionnaires administered on villagers focused on issues of reliability of water points, operation and maintenance, acceptability of the quality of the water, existence of water point committees, awareness of repair training workshops held, and awareness of health and hygiene education. The target group for interviewees was generally people aged 25 and above (with the absolute minimum being 20 years) as these were deemed to have adequate knowledge and awareness of issues being investigated. In as much as is possible household heads or parents were targeted. A total of 37 rehabilitated water points in Mwenezi, 41 in Gwanda, 38 in Bulilima and 28 in Mangwe were visited and interviews carried out randomly with villagers who abstract water from the water points. 3 3.1 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Reliability of the system

3.1.1 Functioning and state of water points It was observed that some 13.5% of water points were not working in Mwenezi, 17.1% in Gwanda, 13.2% in Bulilima, and 25% in Mangwe. The condition of the headworks was deemed satisfactory for 48.6% of the water points in Mwenezi, 48.8% in Gwanda, 68.4% in Bulilima and 60.7% in Mangwe. Water points having a bad channel or no channel at all ranged from 40.5% in Mwenezi to 70.7% in Gwanda. The general condition of the pump head and support was deemed good for a minimum of 48.6% (Mwenezi) to 78.9% (Bulilima) . Missing parts on water points were observed in 2.7% of the water points in Mwenezi to 67.9% in Mangwe of which bolts and

nuts were highest. The project was implemented under emergency and it was not the major objective to do proper headworks on the target WPs. Mangwe had the highest failure rate and the highest number of water points with missing parts. Therefore possibly the high failure rate could be as a result of missing parts which could be due to improper use or poor workmanship. Quality of construction is crucial in ensuring sustainability, thus construction standards has the major impact on sustainability (Katz and Sara, 1998). Poor quality construction is likely to occur when supervision is lacking and where contractors or project personnel are accountable to distant project managers rather than directly to communities (Katz and Sara, 1998). However the community may not be able to effectively supervise the work due to technical limitations but the mere fact of making them feel responsible may minimise short cuts and other activities that may negatively affect the project. It is likely that the supervision could have been affected by the fact that the project sites are some 400 to 500km away from the head office of the project, although there was a team leader in each district from partner organizations. 3.1.2 Availability of water Water points were said not to dry up at certain periods of the year by 35.1% of respondents in Mwenezi, 26.8% Gwanda, 78.9% in Bulilima and 71.4% in Mangwe. Reliability of water points was high in Bulilima and Mangwe as compared to Mwenezi and Gwanda. Previous studies by Hoko (2004) have shown that Mwenezi has a high salinity and this could result in people abstracting water from the few water points with acceptable water quality, this could be true also for Gwanda which is adjacent to Mwenezi. This scenario coupled with the higher densities of population in Mwenezi and Gwanda (compared to Bulilima and Mangwe) may result in increased demand on these water points and consequently excessive draw down resulting in the water points drying up at certain times of the year. However the exact cause of drying up of the water points was not investigated in detail. 3.1.3 Ease of operation of the water points The number of strokes required before water was discharged varied from 1 to over 100 strokes in some cases. In Zimbabwe a maximum of 4 strokes is generally acceptable. The operation of the water point was deemed difficult by 18.9% (Mwenezi) to 64.3% in Mangwe. A squeaky sound was heard during pumping from most of the water points visited. Mangwe had the highest responses for pumps that were difficult to operate and also had the highest missing parts on the boreholes. Mwenezi had the least frequency of responses for difficulties in pump operation as well as the least number of water points with missing parts and perhaps breakdown rate. It appears that ease of operation may be linked to missing parts. Bolts fastening the handle to the pump head can have a substantial effect on the leverage, which in turn determines the easiness of operation. 3.1.4 Breakdown history Mwenezi had the highest reported breakdown rate being 4 times per year and water points with breakdowns of 4 or less accounted for 78.4% of responses. In Gwanda breakdowns of 5 or less times accounted for 80.5% of the water points. Breakdowns of 5 or less times accounted for 76.3% for Bulilima, while 15.8% of the WP had a frequency more than 5 times. Breakdowns of 5 or less times represented some 71.4% in Mangwe, those with a rate of more than 5 times

accounted for 21.4%. No breakdowns occurred for 18.9% of water points in Mwenezi, 14.6% in Gwanda, 2.6% in Bulilima and 0% in Mangwe. The remaining percentages in all districts constituted the respondents who did not know the breakdown rate. The breakdown rate with the highest responses (mode) was once for Mwenezi, twice for Gwanda and Bulilima, and 5 times for Mangwe. The most common breakdown problem was loose or missing parts. Respondents who felt the repairs were done in time where low at 35.1% (Mwenezi), 46.3% (Gwanda) and 0% (Bulilima and Mangwe), thus the down time could possibly be long in most cases. The remainders of respondents were those who thought repairs were not done in time and those who were not sure. Delays were attributed to lack of spares availability. The high proportion of water points deemed difficult to operate and a high mode of breakdown frequency could explain why a higher proportion of water points were non-functional in Mangwe. There seems to be a relationship between the frequency of breakdown and the easiness of operation. Carter (1996) states that it is important to minimize downtime even if the breakdown frequency is high; a pump which breaks down frequently but which is quickly repaired is better than one, which breaks down infrequently but takes long to be repaired. It is true generally that once a facility breaks down frequently as is the case in Mangwe, the tendency is that there is reluctance for continued repairs as this exerts financial and human resource demands. Carter (1996) suggests an upper limit of 2% (7days) for down time. Respondents who were aware of repair record keeping were 24.3% in Mwenezi, 63.4% in Gwanda, 31.6% in Bulilima and 7.1% in Mangwe. The remainder of respondents were those who said no records were kept and those who did not know. The level of awareness of the existence of a record keeping system maybe related to the level of concern and willingness of the ordinary villager to maintain the system. This may be the reason why Mangwe, which had the highest ignorance of record keeping had the highest number of non-functional and difficult water points. 3.1.5 Maintenance personnel availability Pump minders were reported to exist in 54.1% of responses in Mwenezi, 75.6% in Gwanda, 52.6% in Bulilima and 57.1% in Mangwe. No pump minders existed according to 8.1% in Mwenezi, 12.2% in Gwanda, 13.2% in Bulilima and 3.6% in Mangwe. The remaining respondents were unaware of the existence of pump minders. Generally pump minders were readily available in all districts during times of breakdowns as reported by the villagers. This could be due to the fact that during the time of study the pump minders were being employed by the District Development Fund (DDF) or engaged and paid by villagers. Thus financial incentives could have increased pump minder availability. Billig et al. (1999) suggest that for effective operation and maintenance there must be designated people responsible for operations and maintenance who can articulate or demonstrate procedures followed to operate and maintain the facilities. There is also a need for appropriate tools for the water system to be operational and in good working order (Billig et al., 1999). According to respondents, most of the people who where trained during the project had either left the districts or did not have adequate tools or depth of knowledge for effective repairs of water points. Those who perceived the pump minder performance to be satisfactory ranged from 10.5% (Bulilima) to 56.1% of the respondents in Gwanda. Those who felt the performance was

unsatisfactory were highest in Bulilima followed by Mangwe, then Gwanda and least in Mwenezi. This could be linked to the fact that Bulilima and Mangwe were the only districts which had frequencies of breakdown within a year being at times greater than 5 and furthermore no respondent felt repairs were done in time in these two districts. 3.1.6 Water point security and hygiene A minimum of 32.1% in Mangwe to 81.6% Bulilima of water points in all districts were fenced while the fencing that was deemed adequate to prevent animal entry ranged from 14.3% in Mangwe to 47.4% in Bulilima. Cleanliness was observed at 27% of the water points in Mwenezi, 9.8% in Gwanda, 31.6% in Bulilima and 39.3% in Mangwe. The low rate of fencing in Mangwe, may be linked to community attention of the water points and possibly related to breakdown of water points. 3.1.7 Water quality perceptions Water was said to be of an acceptable quality in terms of taste by 91.9% of the respondents in Mwenezi, 90.2% in Gwanda, 92.1% in Bulilima and 92.9% in Mangwe. The remainder felt it was unacceptable or were not sure. A water source may be rejected because of unpleasant but not harmful, aesthetic water quality parameters such as colour, taste and odour (Carter, 1996). Soap consumption (an indirect measure of hardness) was perceived as high by 13.5% in Mwenezi, 0% in Gwanda, 5.3% in Bulilima and 0% in Mangwe. Soap consumption was normal for 62.2% of interviews in Mwenezi, 95.1% in Gwanda, 76.3% in Bulilima and 67.9% in Mangwe. The remaining percentages of the respondents were not sure. Those who consumed water without any treatment ranged from a minimum of 92.9% (Mangwe) to 100% (Bulilima). Generally in all districts except Gwanda, soap consumption had a lower frequency of acceptance as compared to taste. Hoko (2004) found similar findings in a study, which included Mwenezi. Water is practically consumed without treatment and the only treatment reported by a few villagers was boiling. User rejection because of aesthetics is often under-estimated by water engineers and this has serious consequences (Carter, 1996). Once a borehole has been sited in a geological setting that results in poor aesthetics, there is little that can be done and consumers tend to resort to alternative sources if available. The most common alternative sources of water in all districts are surface sources such as streams, rivers and dams although shallow wells were also cited. The water from alternative sources was used for all and selected domestic purposes. The use of water from these sources tends to create potentials for water borne diseases and neglect of the formal system (boreholes), thus reducing the sustainability of the project. Those without alternative sources of water were higher in Bulilima and Mange (50% and 46.4%) as compared to Mwenezi and Gwanda (24.3% and 17.1%). The availability of alternative sources could be due to different hydrological settings. Mwenezi and Gwanda are wetter compared to Bulilima and Mange 3.2 Institutional arrangements

3.2.1 Existence of water point committees (WPCs) Water point committees were reported to be in place by 75.7% (Mwenezi), 82.9% (Gwanda), 71.1% (Bulilima) and 71.4% (Mangwe). The remaining percentage in all districts comprised of those who reported that no WPCs existed and those who did not know of the existence of WPCs.

Generally villagers perceived the function of WPCs as to look after the borehole. Hoko (2004) reported a range of existence of WPCs of 71.4% to 99.4% in four districts studied, which include Mwenezi. In the same study by Hoko, Mwenezi had 88.6% of the water points having committees in place as compared to 75.7% in this study. The difference could have been due to the fact that during the 2004 study the rehabilitation project was just coming to an end in Mwenezi and chances are that WPCs exists and function better during the project implementation stage due to incentives as compared to the post project period. Respondents who reported that the WPCs met regularly were 75.7% in Mwenezi, 82.9% in Gwanda, 68.4% in Bulilima and 50% in Mangwe. The remaining respondents in all districts were made up of those who stated that no WPC existed, those who did not know of the existence of WPCs or whether they met regularly or not. Outcomes of the meetings were made public generally through meetings and notices. According to Billig et al. (1999) criteria for community operations and maintenance, which must be developed by an NGO or project must include the existence of a functioning operation and maintenance committee that meets regularly. In Ghana in a sustainability study, all water and sanitation committees formed in the previous 6 years were still in place and the committees met 5 times in a year but no minutes of the meetings were kept because committees were predominantly illiterate (Yanore, 1995). The existence of a formal community organisation that operates the system affects the overall sustainability of a water system (Katz and Sara, 1998). Katz and Sara (1998) found out that sustainability was significantly lower in communities that lacked such organisations. In this study the existence of WPCs was lower in Bulilima and Mangwe, which also appeared to have higher frequencies of breakdown reported. Some 71.1 to 82.1% in all districts felt WPCs were necessary. 3.3 Financing of water points The most common method of financing repairs of water points was contributions only when there was a breakdown and such responses ranged from 84.2% of the water points in Bulilima to 92.9% in Mangwe. The remaining fractions accounted for either fixed subscriptions or those who were not sure. Enforcement of contributions was reported to be carried out by traditional leaders. In Ghana all committees formed in the previous 6 years had bank accounts although 70% of them were insufficient for any meaningful maintenance (Yanore, 1995). Ownership of the facilities is enhanced by ensuring that the users contribute towards the construction of the facility. Shanthasiri and Wijesooriya (2004) report that a minimum of 20% of the cost of the scheme should be the contribution of the users if a sense of ownership is to be developed. In the rehabilitation project villagers mainly contributed labour. Villagers reported that they got some additional support for maintaining the water points such as spare parts and technical assistance. On the issue of additional support required the villagers felt that spares and more training workshops were important. 3.4 Human capacity development (Training)

3.4.1 Operation and maintenance (O&M) workshops awareness Awareness of O&M workshops was realised in 86.5% of the respondents in Mwenezi 85.4% in Gwanda, 84.2% in Bulilima and 78.6% in Mangwe. The remaning fractions of respondents were

not aware of the O& M training workshops. Yanore (1995) observed that sustainable community management is easily realised where the community and their selected committees have a common self-motivational factor without which awareness through training is usually a process of many years. A common motivational factor arises where water is scarce or the value of clean water is appreciated. The group, which attended these workshops most were pump minders according to 40.5% in Mwenezi, 41.5% in Gwanda and 44.7% in Bulilima, while in Mangwe WPCs were the most frequent group at 35.7% followed by the pump minder group at 10.7%. Other responses included village heads and any ordinary villager. Communities that receive household training are more satisfied with the system, more willing to pay the cost of maintenance, keep the system in better operation and maintenance (Katz and Sara, 1998). At the same time training members of the water committee will lead to better operations and maintenance and financial management (Katz and Sara, 1998). Sustainable community management hinges on capacity building of water committees, which also depends on the resources, time and the effort put to the extension work (Yanore, 1995). Training and-self confidence building of water committees to act on issues of management is time consuming and requires 5 years for the committees to become managers rather than mere users of the water system (Yanore, 1995). It therefore appears that there is need to train all groups of people and to lengthen the training period beyond the project phase coupled with monitoring for enhanced sustainability. 3.4.2 Workshops benefits In Mwenezi 32.4% of the responses felt the workshops benefited the society. In Gwanda those who felt the workshops benefited the society were 39% of the respondents while in Bulilima only 28.9% felt the same way. In Mangwe, 67.9% of the respondents felt the workshop benefited the society. The remaining percentages in all districts comprised of those who were of the feeling that there were no benefits, those not sure and those who never heard about the workshops. The perceived benefits were generally the ability to maintain boreholes. 3.4.3 Future training Those who felt there was need for future O & M training amounted to 54.1% in Mwenezi, 63.4% in Gwanda, 39.5% in Bulilima and 64.3% in Mangwe. The remaining responses in each district were not sure, and No. The target group of participants of future training workshops as suggested by the respondents included, pump minders, water point committee members and ordinary villagers in order of priority. On suggestions to improve future training generally respondents felt that more training and provision of printed material were necessary. 3.5 Participatory health and hygiene education (PHHE)

3.5.1 Participatory Health and hygiene education workshop awareness Those who heard of PHHE were 86.5% of the respondents in Mwenezi, 82.5% in Gwanda, 57.9% in Bulilima and 46.4% in Mangwe. The remainder was made up of those who did not hear of the workshops. In Mwenezi the frequency of responses of awareness of PHHE workshops was the same as that for O&M workshops. Awareness of PHHE in Gwanda was slightly lower in Gwanda at 82.5% as compared 85.4% for that of O&M. In Bulilima and Mangwe awareness of

PHHE was much lower (<60%) compared to that of O&M, which was greater than 75%. It can be concluded that there was a higher awareness of O&M training as compared to PHHE training. 3.5.2 Benefits of PHHE Those who felt the PHHE training benefited the community in each district were 64.9% in Mwenezi, 78% in Gwanda, 47.4% in Bulilima and 46.4% in Mangwe. The remaining fractions composed of those who thought there were no benefits and those who were not sure. Benefits were perceived as improved quality of water, improved health and hygiene knowledge and behaviour. Generally perceived benefits for PHHE, which ranged from 46.4% to 78%, were higher than those for O&M, which were 28.9% to 67.9%. There is often a need for incentives for behavioral change and one major such incentive is the perceived benefits form behavioral change (Duncker, 1999). Providing people with information about the potential health benefits of improved water supply affects how they value their water source and thereby improves their willingness to sustain the system (Katz and Sara, 1998). This could be the reason why Mwenezi and Gwanda, which had higher awareness and perceptions of benefits, appeared to have better operating water points as compared to Bulilima and Mangwe. 3.5.3 Future Training Those who felt there was need for future training accounted for 89.2% of responses in Mwenezi, 90.2% in Gwanda, 50% in Bulilima, and 57.1% in Mangwe. The remainder was not sure or was of the opinion that there was no need for future training. The target groups for future training suggested by respondents were village health workers (VHWs) and water point committees. Generally more workshops were suggested as a way of improving future PHHE training, although relatively a lower fraction felt this way as compared to the workshop for O & M. 3.6 Improvements in rural livelihood

3.6.1 Walking distance The distance of the respondents homestead to the water point was moderate to very near according to 94.6% of the respondents in Mwenezi, 85.4% in Gwanda, 97.4%, in Bulilima and 96.4% in Mangwe. Generally an acceptable walking distance to the water point should be 300m Carter (1996). Although it was not possible to obtain estimates for distances in this study due to various factors, in most cases the distance was well above the 300m limit. The perception of near, moderate or far is subjective and relative. It should be pointed out that generally the study team after identifying the rehabilitated borehole tended to locate the nearest homestead or would interview villagers found at the water point. This was to ensure that the interviewee abstracted the water from the water point in question as people generally fetch water from the nearest point. So this could affect the responses of perceived walking distance. The walking distance to a water point was reduced according to 82.9% to100% of the responses in all districts. 3.6.2 Health and disease perceptions Possible negative health effects of drinking poor water quality water were acknowledged by 100% of respondents in Mwenezi, Bulilima and Mangwe and, by 97.6% in Gwanda. Some 2.4% in Gwanda thought poor quality water has no effect on health. Villagers felt that consuming water of a poor quality can lead to cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid. According to Mintz et al.

(2001) important diseases that can be transmitted by the waterborne route include cholera, typhoid fever, amoebic and bacillary dysentery and other diarrhoeal diseases. Incidences of water borne diseases were perceived to have been reduced after the rehabilitation project by 97.3% to 100% of respondents in all districts. Water and sanitation improvements in association with hygiene behaviour change can have a significant effect on population and health by reducing a variety of disease conditions such as diarrhea, intestinal helminthes, guinea worm and skin diseases (Billig et al., 1999).

4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (1) The water quality was acceptable in over 90% for taste and 62% to 95% of cases for soap consumption. Water is generally consumed without treatment. There were some unsafe alternative sources of water, which obviously threaten the health benefits of the project. (2) Non-functional water points were highest in Mangwe (25%) and lowest in Bulilima (13.2%). The breakdown rate, which had the highest frequency in each district ranging from once to 5 times per year, appears to be high within the one-year period after rehabilitation. Down time for broken down boreholes could have been high as only 0% to 46.3% felt repairs were done on time. Loose parts such as bolts and nuts were the most common nature of breakdown. Water points which did not dry up at any time of the year ranged from 26.8% in Gwanda to 78.9% in Bulilima. (3) The water points were in some areas deemed difficult to operate and the number of strokes required before water was discharged exceeded 100 for some water points. This is undesirable given that women and children mostly fetch water. (4) Pump minders were reported to exist in over 50% of the cases. The performance of pump minders was perceived satisfactory in over 50% of the cases for Mwenezi and Gwanda, and in less than 40% of the cases for Bulilima and Mangwe. (5) Awareness of the O&M workshops was over 70% in all districts. Those who felt O&M workshops benefited the society were less than those with the same opinion for PHHE workshops. More training was suggested for improving O&M. (6) Water point committees were reported to exist in 71.1% to 82.9% of the cases. The functioning of water point committees as inferred from holding of meetings was 50% to 82.9% in all areas. Some 70% to 80% of villagers in all districts felt the need for water point committees. More workshops were proposed to strengthen WPCs. (7) Financing of O&M was by contributions only when there is a breakdown and additional support received was spares and skilled labour. Traditional leaders enforced contributions. (8) The walking distance to a water point was reduced as a result of the water point rehabilitation project according 82.9% to 100% of the respondents. (9) The health and hygiene education was considered to have improved the health and hygiene knowledge as well as behaviour in 46.4% to 78% of cases in all districts. (10) There is a need to lengthen the duration of the training as well as extending the training period beyond the project phase. Community participation should be encouraged. Appropriate tools and incentives to retain the trained personnel should be considered. Water point committees should be strengthened in terms of technical and managerial skills. Acknowledgements


The authors would like to thank the funders of the project, which is the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). References Billig, P., Bendahmane, D., and Swindale, A. (1999). Water and Sanitation Indicators, Measurement Guide. Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance, Washington, D.C., USA. Carter, R.C. (1996). Strategies for handpump water supply programmes in less developed countries. Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental management, 1996. Vol. 10. No. 2. 130-136. De Regt, J.P. (2005). Water in Rural communities. pp21-1 to 12-12. In: Proceedings of the International workshop on African Laws: Plural legislative Framework for Rural Water management in Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa. 26-28 January 2005. Duncker,L. (1999). Hygiene and awareness in South Africa. pp 79-81. Integrated development for water and sanitation. In: Proceedings of the 25th WEDC conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 1999. Hadi, A. (2000). A participatory approach to sanitation: experience of Bangladeshi NGOs. Health Policy and Planning, 15 (3). Oxford University Press, UK. 332-337 Hoko, Z. (2005). An assessment of the water quality of drinking water in rural districts in Zimbabwe. The case of Gokwe South, Nkayi, Lupane and Mwenezi. In press Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. Elsevier, Science Ltd, London, UK. Katz, T., and Sara, J. (1998). Making Rural water supply Sustainable. Recommendations from a global study. UNDP-World Bank, Water and sanitation program. Mintz, E., Bartran, J., Lochery, P., and Wegelin M. (2001). Not Just adrop in a bucket: ExpandingAcess to point-of-Use Water Treatment systems. American Journal of Public Health 91(10). /publications_pages /2001/mintz_2001.pdf accessed 28 August 2005 Narayan, D. (1993). Partcipatory Evaluation. Tools for managing Change in Water and Sanitation. World bank technical paper No.207. The International Bank of Reconstruction and Development/World Bank. Washington, D.C., USA. Robinson P. (2002). Upgraded Family Wells in Zimbabwe. Household level water supplies for Multiple Uses. Water and sanitation Program-Africa Region (WSP-AF). The World Bank, Nairobi, Kenya. Shanthasiri H.K.S., and Wijesooriya, R. (2004). Case study on community involvement in rural water supply in Sri Lanka. pp 311-314. People centred approaches to water and environmental sanitation. In: Proceedings of the 30th WEDC conference. Vientiane, Lao, PDR. 2004. Yanore G.A. (1995). Sustainable rural WATSAN management in Bolgatanga. pp 190-193. Sustainability of water and Sanitation systems. In: Proceedings of the 21st WEDC conference, Kampala, Uganda. 1995.