Grand Circle Foundation (GCF) together with other donors have provided much needed funding and support for Hwange and Tsholotsho communities through the drilling of boreholes. Over the last few years, 18 boreholes have been completed in these regions, positively impacting thousands of people who previously lacked access to clean water. The benefits of boreholes for schools and communities are plentiful, as shown in the following diagram.
Both at school and within the community, having a borehole and access to clean water improves the efficiency of everyday tasks as much time is saved without having to walk for many kilometres to collect water. This task often falls upon women and girls and can take hours, sometimes only for a bucket or two. Having an easily accessible borehole eases the burden on women and girls and is also much safer, particularly in areas such as these where wild animals can be an issue. Furthermore, girls who have to collect water often end up skipping school to do so. Having a borehole means that they no longer have to do this, improving gender equality and ensuring that they have an equal opportunity to attend school and gain an education.
Boreholes also increase community cohesion as members have to work together, taking ownership of the borehole. This added responsibility encourages the community to work collaboratively and ensure that it is looked after.
Health and hygiene is also greatly improved through access to a borehole. As water from a borehole is clean, the risk of disease is much lower. Improved access to water also enables improved personal hygiene as there will be more readily available for bathing and washing hands more frequently. Educating children and the wider community on the importance of hygiene will reduce the spread of disease and hopefully lead to an all-round healthier community.
Another significant benefit of boreholes is the ability to provide for livestock and assist with subsistence farming. In these remote areas where rainfall is sparse and unpredictable, it is difficult to maintain a consistent livelihood. If animals and crops are able to be looked after continuously, livelihoods will be able to be maintained.
Having access to clean water through a borehole also helps contribute to many of The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the 17 SDGs, access to clean water gained through a borehole directly contributes to the improvement of five of them: ‘poverty alleviation’, ‘good health and wellbeing’, ‘gender equality’, ‘water and sanitation’, and ‘reduced inequalities’. Boreholes also indirectly contribute to achieving other goals such as ‘quality education’ through further education of children and the wider community, ‘decent work and economic growth’ through livelihood assistance, and ‘life on land’ through being able to look after livestock.
Drilling boreholes at local primary schools also greatly benefits CITW’s Eco-Club members. In addition to improved hygiene as a result of access to clean water, members make great use of the boreholes. Each school has an eco-garden that students tend to, planting vegetables, maintaining the garden, and harvesting their crops. Having access to a borehole greatly increases efficiency and productivity, and students also have the opportunity to learn about the importance of taking ownership and looking after the borehole.
In summary, the installation of boreholes in these remote rural regions of Zimbabwe helps significantly towards achieving the SDGs and improving the everyday lives of all those who have access to them. We are hugely grateful to all the donors who have contributed over the years and thank them for their support.