Since its emergence late last year, the coronavirus has spread to every continent with cases rising daily in Africa, the Americas and Europe. Zimbabwe has not been spared, with cases increasing.
As of August 28, the country’s cases of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 was 6,292 with 189 deaths.
With more and more people catching the coronavirus daily, it has become important for everyone to protect themselves, and others around them. We are doing this by taking appropriate precautions stipulated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Concerned about the rising cases, Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, led the nation in prayer and fasting as the country sought divine answers to a disease that has turned lives upside down and wrecked economies worldwide.
The villagers in Neta, Mberengwa – a district in the Midlands province – are well aware of this pandemic and its effects. They have taken it upon themselves to protect themselves and their loved ones against this deadly virus.
One of the WHO recommended precautions for reducing the spread of COVID-19 is regularly washing and cleaning hands with soap and water – and this is exactly what the villagers are doing. The villagers have erected ‘Tippy Taps’ outside their homes for use by them as well as visitors.
Tippy Taps are made using sticks, bottles and five litre containers. A piece of string lets them operate the tap with a foot, tipping it to start the flow of water. As only the soap is touched with the hands, the device is very hygienic.
But for the taps to function fully, they need a constant supply of water. Fortunately for the Neta community, they have a new borehole which surely could not have been installed at a better time. So, their taps will never run dry, thanks to Showers of Blessings.
One villager, Mrs. Mzeziwa, said she felt safer because of the new borehole, which is enabling people to successfully run their Tippy Taps. Before the borehole was installed, they were not able to practice good hygiene as it was difficult to access the water.
“The borehole has been quite a relief as it’s improved our sanitation. With the Tippy Taps, it’s now easy to encourage our children to regularly sanitise because you don’t have to keep telling them to wash their hands. They now do it on their own as they enjoy using the Tippy Taps,” said Mrs. Mzeziwa.
She said through the Tippy Taps, villagers are now able to safely wash their hands with running water that they will have collected from the borehole. Before the borehole was installed, women and children had to walk long distances but now, that is a thing of the past.
“Children no longer have the burden of walking long distances, increasing their chances of catching the virus, as the borehole is close by.”
But there are many more communities in Zimbabwe that don’t have boreholes that supply water. Women and children still put themselves at risk to gather water that might not be clean. With so little water, and no guarantee of sanitary water, proper handwashing becomes impossible.
By taking part in Safe Water September, you can help make a difference in the lives of people like Mrs. Mzeziwa. There are many people just like her, who are still in desperate need of safe water.
You can find out more, sign up to take the challenge or donate to the cause at SafeWaterSeptember.org.au
Boniface Mpofu, Showers of Blessings Projects Director
'Showers of Blessing Trust (OSBT)' is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).