The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Zimbabwe plans to expand its Peri-urban Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting (PROOF) programme into rural areas to ensure availability of clean water to the communities, USAID Mission Director, Karen Freeman has revealed.
“Half of the world’s population lives in cities, the other half lives in rural areas. We thought that it would be most appropriate while we are here to celebrate World Water Day to announce the extension of the program to rural areas,” Freeman said.
According to her, through the expansion her organisation will be able to assist other schools and households in realizing the benefits of roof-top rainwater harvesting as a way to ensure availability of clean water as well as providing hygiene education to beneficiaries of rainwater harvesting systems in order to reduce water borne diseases.
She added that the initiative is targeting rural schools lacking reliable water supplies.”I understand the immense responsibility of headmasters and teachers in schools where the number of students is often over 1,000 who strive to ensure quality education while worrying about adequate water supplies for students and teachers. With the installation of rainwater harvesting systems at schools, school staff will be able to worry about things other than water, like teaching,” says Freeman.
Some of the rural areas to be covered by the programme will include Buhera,Manicaland province,Save Valley and Gokwe North.
The water harvesting initiative in Zimbabwe was initiated by the International Relief and Development (IRD) with funding from USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) in 2009 as a response to the cholera epidemic.So far IRD has installed 805 rooftop rainwater harvesting systems that serve 2 653 households.In addition, IRD has also installed systems at eight schools in high density areas in Harare,Chitungwiza and Mutare, as well as in rural Manicaland province.