Improving WASH for women and girls in Zimbabwe

In Chivi District, Zimbabwe, CARE is providing equitable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), with a specific focus on women and girls.

Chivi district is one of the driest in Zimbabwe where convenient access to clean water is difficult to come by. A majority of homes in Chivi lack toilets and over 50% practice open defecation. This means families are extremely vulnerable to preventable diseases that can be controlled through adequate sanitation, hygiene practices and access to clean and safe water.

As of 2017, CARE has drilled 21 new boreholes and repaired 161 to provide over 53,000 people with access to safe drinking water. That’s 27% more than at the start of the project. They have assisted families and communities to build toilets in their homes and schools that are responsive to the specific hygiene needs of women and people living with a disability, giving over 40,000 people (48% more than at the start of the project) with better access to toilets and handwashing stations. They are also teaching communities about hygienic practices and the benefits of eliminating open defecation. As of 2017, 170 villages have been declared open defecation free. These activities have contributed to cases of diarrhoea in CARE targeted villages dropping on average by 22%.

Claire* is a Grade 7 student at Denga Primary School. She loves school and hopes to have a job when she grows up. She loves the girl-friendly toilets that have been built for her school. She’s noticed many of the older girls now coming to school rather than missing out due to their periods and fear of being mocked by the boys when they had leaks on their uniform.

Stella Masvimbo lives in Mashing Province in Southern Zimbabwe. Her household consists of seventeen children, she has nine children of her own and eight grandchildren. Her family has faced devastating bouts of cholera and typhoid from contaminated water in the past decade, a result of using the nearby river as their primary water source. CARE helped Stella and her family by building a bore hole a short walk from her house, allowing the family to unlimited access to clean, fresh drinking water. Through education and the construction of a toilet, Stella’s homestead is also now proudly an open-defecation free area, eliminating further risk of disease.

By training local Village Pump Mechanics, Water Point Committees and Latrine Builders, with a specific focus on empowering women to have equal decision-making roles and responsibilities, CARE ensures the work is locally-owned and sustainable.

CARE is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program.

* In accordance with CARE’s child protection policy, the name of the child has been changed.