2018 is heading towards the UK’s hottest and driest summer on record. A lower than usual amount of rain fell in May, followed by what appears to be the hottest and driest June since records started. Now in July, a further two weeks of hot, dry weather has been forecast for the UK, water levels are dropping, so we are asked to conserve water. These high temperatures and conservation of water are alien to many people living on our islands.
In comparison, Zambia experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall earlier this year, but the last drop fell in April and it is not expected to rain again until the end of November. Six months without any rain causes the streams and small rivers to run dry, resulting in people living in rural areas having to travel further to source drinking water. One such community is Luzila, in Sekute Chiefdom. During the wet season people draw drinking water from a polluted swamp, then during the dry months they must walk two miles to use a local school’s borehole, The demand then becomes too much, which can result in a low water supply for the school.
There are numerous schools throughout the whole of Zambia that do not have access to safe clean drinking water. To date we have installed twenty-eight boreholes for schools, clinics and communities. This month we are adding three more school boreholes and one for Luzila community. Munyundu and Zalu schools, in Nyawa Chiefdom, rely on bacteria-infested streams to draw water from. However, these streams run dry around July/August, which means the pupils must walk three to four kilometers to the reach the river. A further borehole has already been drilled at Nakawa pre-school, thanks to a donation from Attraction Tickets Direct. International Peace Projects are kindly funding Luzila and Zalu and Muyundu’s donation comes from one of our generous private donors.
The dry season does have advantages, rural tracks are accessible! This is the cooler season when malaria cases start to reduce and communities can relax a little. During this period we raise funds to purchase mosquito nets, safe insecticidal coating and larvicide granules. Reports will shortly be sent to us with updated data on how well our interventions are helping to reduce the number of malaria cases. Recent donations from Inner Wheel Clubs will enable us to expand this project into new areas.
One project, which we pioneered at River View School, has proved to be highly successful. In October 2017, using grant aid from Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, 1,400 mosquito nets were given to every pupil and teacher at the school – to date ZERO cases of absenteeism from malaria have been recorded.
Our water and malaria prevention programmes are essential in helping vulnerable children in outreach villages to live a healthy life. Thank you for all your generous donations towards these worthwile projects.