Stanhope water woes to come to an end
Since resettlement, villagers in Umguza’s ward 16 have battled with perennial water shortages which are heightened by the fact that in the 15 years of the ward existence council, DDF, and Community Share Ownership has tried to no avail to drill boreholes. This is as a result of the fact that the area is generally dry such that the water table is inaccessible. Villagers in Stanhope have suffered perennial water woes and have in the process fallen prey to opportunists who were now selling the precious liquid for $5.00 a 5o litre drum. As such the community women are faced with dire hardships such as walking long journeys in search of water, diseases associated with drinking water from unsafe sources, failure to have nutritional gardens amongst the multiplicity of problems that come as a result of unavailability of water.
Emthonjeni Women’s Forum through the Women Promoting Constitutionalism Through Advocacy initiative concientised the women of Stanhope on their constitutional rights, linking them with social services delivery so that they can demand accountability. The training also equipped the women with advocacy skills that would enable them to hold relevant solution holders to account. After the Advocacy Skills training the women identified the water issue as a social service delivery which they felt needed urgent attention. This was as the training had made them realize their current situation was a gross human rights violation. After drawing their power map the selected Action Group members decided to summon the District Wash officer as the responsible authority. During the social accountability forum, the community members and action group members summoned the District WASH to question them on the water situation in the ward as well as showed them the samples of water they consumed. The WASH officer then indicated that plans were underway to do something about the Stanhope water situation and committed to the installation of a piped water scheme as WASH was very aware that the area is generally.
Speaking after the social accountability forum, Mrs Nora Dube an Action group member and the Village head’s wife said “we are happy that we have been promised an engine to pump water for us bringing it closer tour homes, it is however our only hope that this is not an empty promise like many that are made by people in power.”
To date the District WASH personnel has been to Stanhope to install water pipes, trenches have been dug, water pipes have been set, water samples have been taken to laboratories for testing to determine the kind of impurities it contains and according to Action Group members in the ward there is considerable progress with the latest development being the installation of the water tank that will service the community. The villagers in Stanhope therefore stand with hope as they watch their advocacy efforts turn into tangible outputs and await to drink safe and portable water as the district WASH has already started installing the piped water scheme as promised during the ward’ social accountability forum.