By Paidashe Mandivengerei
A staggering 70% of people suffering from waterborne illnesses in Zimbabwe are youths with a majority of that percentage being females, Community Water Alliance (CWA) has revealed.
As the International Day of Human Rights is commemorated and 16 days of activism against gender violence campaign comes to an end, local youngsters and women bear the burden of water pollution as well as inaccessibility.
The country is currently facing water shortages compounded on by power outages and insufficient funds to purchase water treatment chemicals.
Typhoid, diarrhoea and cholera cases are on the rise.
Due to the patriarchal nature of the Zimbabwean society women take care of household chores including fetching water.
A recent report by UNICEF Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) sector pointed out that women are being sexually harassed while queuing at water points.
In a statement, CWA said government should avail more funds towards water delivery.
“Community Water Alliance Board of Trustees, Water Council, membership and staff joins the world in commemorating international human rights day.
As we commemorate human rights day, we are cognisant of the fact that 6 years after the promulgation of the human right to water on Section 77(a) of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe, young women continue to bear the burden of unavailability, inaccessibility and bad quality potable water.
The water situation on the ground in Zimbabwe is a direct contradiction of celebrating youths as “constructive agents of change”. Our parallel typhoid/diarrhoea/cholera tabulation report produced evidence that young people comprise around 70% of victims of water borne diseases. Of the 70%, the majority are young women. Subjecting young people to stone age diseases defeats their capacity to be important ingredients in the boiling pot of meaningful and constructive change in Zimbabwe.
Rape cases and gender based violence have dominated practice at boreholes in urban areas where bush pump boreholes have turned out to be main access points for potable water.
With varying and changing climatic patterns, water delivery continues to be a serious challenge requiring urgent attention.
We implore responsible authorities to increase budget allocation to water delivery, ensure transparency on the administration of water funds, formulate a gendered water delivery framework and preserve wetlands as ways to address challenges of water delivery.”