Underpinning COVID-19 preparedness with access to clean water
7th Jul 2020
InfraCo Africa, with funding from the Private Infrastructure Development Group Technical Assistance (PIDG TA), is working with the team at Western Power Company (WPC) in Zambia’s Western Province to prepare communities close to the Ngonye Falls hydropower project site for the challenge presented by COVID-19.
The PIDG TA funding will provide clean, potable water to the Mbuyu Community School by meeting the cost of drilling a borehole and fitting solar pump equipment close to the school site. The borehole will also serve the Linganga health post which is situated within the school building. Local people currently walk several kilometres per day to collect water from surrounding wells, rivers and streams. Water from the borehole will be made freely available to ensure that the school and Linganaga health post can be kept clean and will also enable local households to meet their domestic needs.
InfraCo Africa’s CEO, Gilles Vaes said “With PIDG TA, we are pleased to be able to support the efforts of our colleagues and communities in Zambia to meet the challenge of COVID-19. Western Power has been able to draw on its strong relationship with communities near to the project site in order to quickly identify need. By supplying clean water in the heart of the Mbuyu community, this initiative will not only support efforts to promote hand hygiene to slow the spread of the virus but will also support positive long-term health outcomes.”
The US$20,000 grant will also be used to supply personal protective equipment, soap and hand sanitiser to the health post team and will fund the production of awareness posters in the local language for distribution by the school and local health council. The posters will promote the importance of hand hygiene and of observing social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
Mbuyu Community School Headmaster, Mr Munyinda Mwikisa said “We are extremely grateful for this support, it is very important and will create a sustainable environment. We have flushing toilets in the school buildings and the teachers houses; however, these are not currently functional. As a result, we are using pit latrines which are not conducive for maintaining personal hygiene. The current borehole is located near the pit latrines which means that the water is not suitable for consumption, but we have no choice. He continued, “A new borehole supplying clean water will be key to COVID 19 prevention and will support hand washing practices. We are also very grateful for the supply of PPE equipment and hand sanitisers as we shall be able to ensure our teachers, pupils and the community using our local health post are protected and informed of COVID-19 prevention practices.”
Elsewhere in Zambia, InfraCo Africa is working with PIDG TA and the Zambian government to provide vital PPE and to support community engagement and awareness training as well as installing handwashing stations for workers on the Chiansi Irrigation project and for residents in Chanyanya and Chikupi.
Harnessing the power of waterfalls
The Western Power Company will develop a 180MW run-of-river hydropower plant in Zambia’s Western Province: harnessing the untapped potential of the Zambezi River’s waterfalls to deliver clean, sustainable power. The project will not only provide power to the national grid, helping to alleviate economically crippling power deficits, but also directly and positively impact families living in the surrounding area through a pioneering benefit-sharing programme.