July 27, 2017

Windmill boreholes change lives for Hurungwe community

By Nhau Mangirazi

Forty-six year old Reverend Agnes Chida does not regret being transferred from Harare to the rural outskirts of Hurungwe in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West province in 2014.

Rev Chida is married to Rev Shepard Chida and both serve under the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. They have twin sets of children aged 13 and 19. They live at Chivakanenyama about 60 kilometres West of Karoi.

‘We are enjoying a good life as we are assured of clean water anytime of the day as long as there is wind. Water is readily available and life is simple for us. We have an all-year irrigation facility for our garden, maize field and chicken run,’’ she said beaming with pride.

About 100 meters from their homestead, is a windmill borehole that was installed in 1996 by the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.  Nearly 200 households are benefitting from the windmill borehole.

Livestock is also benefitting from the available water trench.

As an alternative source of clean energy, the windmill borehole has proved that it can sustain the livelihoods of communities through access to clean water for domestic use and irrigation among other needs.

The windmill borehole which is situated a few meters from the main tarred road linking Magunje and Zvipani under Headman Matawu is a source of inspiration for communities benefiting from renewable energy here.

It captures the visitor’s eye as it is visible from a distance. “Even tourists going to either Nyaminyami or Gokwe, pass through here and get water. No one is charged for the water as water is a God-given natural resource,” added Rev Agnes.

The borehole is used by children from the local primary and secondary schools, the local church and the community at large.

Chivakanenyama Primary School is one of the oldest schools in Hurungwe built by missionaries in 1952 while a secondary school was built in 1966. Currently, there are more than 700 pupils at the primary school and more than 300 attending the secondary school.

Rev Chida explained that the windmill borehole pumps water into two 5,000- litre tanks and another 10,000-litre tank.

‘We are mostly likely to have green maize in August as we are preparing the fields,’ said Rev Agnes Chida. They have an orchard of mangoes, bananas and guava trees.

“The water table is good for us as a community as it is 40 meters deep … so we are assured of water even during drought years,” her husband said.

Joyce Zata, 53, of Ruzende village about three kilometres away, is happy they have access to clean water.

“Unlike in some areas where the water is contaminated as people share it with animals, this windmill borehole has been a good solution to us,” said Zata.

Another villager, Theresa Mapara of Murimbika village agreed that it is good for them as women as they do their laundry chores at the borehole without any challenges.

Headman Chigango said although he is happy with windmill borehole, he is, however, worried by cases of vandalism committed by some members of the community.

‘Our main challenge is that some members of the community have vandalised the windmill of late and … this affects everyone,’’ said Chigango.

Rev Agnes Chida admitted that this was the biggest challenge they are facing.

‘Not everyone understands community ownership in its true sense and we have to endure such challenges. At one time, someone stripped it of some bolts and we had to seek donations to have it repaired,” she said.

Hurungwe Rural District Ward 25 councillor, under whom the area falls, Lovemore Mushawashi, said the availability of water to the communities proves that the some of the rural folk may achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Number 6.

The Goal calls for policymakers to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

“We may be facing challenges about water and sanitation in our communities but the windmill borehole has proven that it can be easily achieved through natural resources and clean energy,” said Mushawashi in an interview.



March 1, 2017

Renewable energy scribes get a boost

Filed under: Enviroment,Renewable Energy — Nhaudzenyu @ 3:54 pm

By Nhau Mangirazi

HARARE- Environment journalists specializing on renewable energy stand to benefit from regional and international partnership to enhance good reportage of the sector affecting communities.
This follows a financial injection and partnership between Media Institute of Southern Africa, Misa- Zimbabwe chapter. Hivos, ZERO, Practical Action and others through capacity building of journalists from all provinces in the capital this week.

Misa-Zimbabwe programs coordinator Nyasha Nyakunu told journalists attending a training on renewable energy that the media must play a critical role in promoting the Bill of rights according to the new constitution that revolves around livelihoods of communities.
‘’It is imperative that as media we must remain as the watch dog of the society and therefore must be in a position to inform the public. Renewable energy can easily be tackled through unpacking the Bill of rights as the benchmark. We must probe stories on renewable energy on the right to shelter, clean water, health, education, among others and its impact on the society.’’ Nyakunu said.

He added that Misa Zimbabwe is working with other partners who have pulled resources to capacitate journalists and increase coverage on renewable energy as well as regional training of those who could have done better in telling a Zimbabwean story on renewable energy.

‘We hope that some will benefit in another international training later in the year in Europe by some of you who are committed on this cause’ he added.

According to ZERO website, it works in the area of universal access to energy. and civil society coordinator of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative in Zimbabwe.

”The goal is to increase universal energy access through the provision of modern energy for cooking, promoting rural electrification and advocating for pro-poor energy policies that expand access to people living in slums” says the website.

It adds that out of the 12.5 million people in Zimbabwe, more than 70 percent live in rural communities without access to modern energy.
”Only 19 percent of the majority of the country population has access to electricity. The household energy sector remains the largest consumer of energy due high dependence on traditional biomass.

The journalists drawn from both national and provincial newspapers were trained by seasoned environment journalist and media specialist Johnson Siamachira who urged media to be pro active on environment stories.

”This training is just a take off point, you must be able to go to the communities and help on how renewable energy is making strides in helping communities or challenges being faced’ said Siamachira.

Practical Action is also implementing projects on renewable energy in Zimbabwe and Malawi through Rural Sustainable Energy Development in Zimbabwe, RUSED, operating in two districts.

The project is contributing towards the overall objective which seeks to increase access to modern, affordable and sustainable renewable energy services for the rural irrigation communities in two districts of Zimbabwe.

The project promotes the use of micro-hydro and solar energy by rural people around the Ruti and Himalaya irrigation schemes in Zimbabwe.

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