Imagine the horrifying effect that, women in Zimbabwe go through without access to clean and portable water in their daily lives for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing.
More than 50,000 women and children in Gweru face that challenge every day, with their children being the most affected.
More often households would have their water meters confiscated by local authority because of defaulting payment while others could not afford to pay the required rates.
Women and children are forced to walk for kilometers at the nearest water source, at most times which are considered as unsafe water sources such as rivers, streams, ponds and unprotected wells.
Water is a human right critical for human survival and development.
Without water, for drinking and personal hygiene, residents become vulnerable to typhoid and cholera.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) having carried out a short research in Mkoba, realized that “demonstration by paying” has improved the relationship between council and residents as well as bringing back the culture of paying amongst residents.
In an interview with, Chipo Munetsa (not real name) stated that, the initiative brought by GRRA has instilled a habit to pay rates to council, forcing council to restore water supply at their household.
“When I heard of the initiative from GRRA members, they explained to me of the benefits and realized what I had been missing. We are happy that, ‘demonstration by paying’ has improved my relationship with city council. I had an outstanding debt of more than $3,500ZWL and now have developed a culture to pay my bills every month ($100ZWL).
“My debt currently stands at $1100ZWL and I am more motivated than ever to clear my debt, than ever.
“Before we joined in the programme, twice everyday we were forced to walk over 3 kilometres to access water. At times there were challenges that we had to sleep at boreholes to access water,” she said.
She further stated that, her family now has access to clean water and no longer is afraid of water borne diseases.