DanChurch Aid builds climate resilience among communities in Eastern Zambia

Report
from DanChurchAid
Published on 05 Oct 2017 View Original

Over the past few decades Zambia has experienced climatic hazards such as droughts, seasonal and flash floods, extreme temperatures and very dry spells. Of course different parts of the country have been affected differently but the impact on communities has been immense both economically and otherwise.

By Bellah Zulu

Over the past few decades Zambia has experienced climatic hazards such as droughts, seasonal and flash floods, extreme temperatures and very dry spells. Of course different parts of the country have been affected differently but the impact on communities has been immense both economically and otherwise.

This is why DanChurch Aid Zambia which works as a Joint Country Programme (JCP) with Norwegian Church Aid and Christian Aid in Zambia, through the Emergency Preparedness and Response programme (EPR), in partnership with Caritas Chipata has prioritized training on disaster management from a climate resilience perspective for three communities in the Eastern Province Districts of Nyimba, Petauke and Lundazi.

“The first toilet we had fell down because it did not go deep enough in its foundation,” said a beneficiary from Kasansamula community in Nyimba District, Mr. Spear Mwanza. “But the new one has been reinforced following the building standards taught to us by Caritas Chipata.”

Mr. Mwanza added: “The lessons also included aspects of proper sanitation by urging us to include water points at each pit latrine so that people always wash their hands after using the toilet.”

The Kasansamula community is on the banks of the Luangwa River and is generally difficult to access by road especially in the rainy season. Despite living next to a river, the area has challenges accessing clean water with the only clean water facility around the area being a local school borehole.

In a different community of Mwanjawanthu found in Petauke District of Eastern Zambia the local people decided that the best support they could receive was a dam across their stream. “As women, we suffer a lot especially during the dry season because we’re the ones who go searching for water for our households,” said a community member Agnes Sakala. “The boreholes in this area are far apart so we suffer a lot accessing water for ourselves and our animals.”

The dam being built with DanChurch Aid Zambia support will be able to impound and store water for the more than 250 Households in the surrounding villages around Mwanjawanthu area. It is being constructed on Nkhanya stream and when completed will store over 14, 000 cubic metres of water.

Mr. Malitino Banda the Village Headman for the area described the challenges of not having sufficient water in the dry season and how the dam will help them. “We suffer a lot especially when it comes to rearing animals such as cattle and goats due to shortage of water. This dam will also help us improve our gardening and start fish farming,” he said.

He added: “We feel lucky that this dam will be built here because there are a lot of other communities that are also in need of the same facility but we have been chosen.

As a result of the trainings conducted on disaster management, another community in Mwase area of Lundazi District mobilized itself to construct a 100 metres long embankment on one of the streams to create water harvesting basins to store water.

What is most interesting is that the community did not wait for funding from DanChurch Aid Zambia for them to do something about their challenges but went ahead to find local solutions by building a simple embankment to store water for gardening and livestock purposes, but which would also act as a bridge for children to cross the stream when going to school.

Despite the great strides made in addressing issues of emergency preparedness and response more work still needs to be done to ensure that the local communities become more aware of the benefits of resilient infrastructure. There is also need for continued advocacy to ensure that the government allocates significant resources towards disaster preparedness and mitigation in Zambia.