A young boy in Zambia holds a glass of clean water. Read how World Vision's clean water project makes this community dance with joy.
To fully understand the impact of World Vision reaching a new person with clean water every 30 seconds, you need to get down to the individual villages and families whose lives are transformed by clean water.
Today we visit a community in Zambia … and see what makes them dance with joy!
I’m visiting rural Zambia with our world-class World Vision Water team including Sebastian Kunda, program manager, and Nacula Bwalya, our local village water coordinator. Even though we’re not far from the capital of Lusaka, we are deep in rural Africa and have spent a few hours on dusty and bumpy roads to reach the village that is the focus of our visit.
This is where World Vision teams do their best work. We live and work in communities to build trust, and this leads to communities taking responsibility for the water sources so the water continues to flow long after we’ve moved on to help other villages.
Similar to nine other countries in Africa, World Vision has ramped up provision of clean water in the last three years. In fact, we’re now reaching a new person with clean water every 30 seconds. Last year, we reached 1.3 million people with clean water globally!
In Zambia, this focus on clean water means that we are now providing, on average, clean water to a new village every other day, and reaching hundreds of villages every year. This is the kind of scale that is needed to solve the global water crisis, and I’m extremely excited about our work. But to really understand the impact of reaching one new person with clean water every 30 seconds, you need to get down to the individual villages and families whose lives are transformed by clean water.
So today we’re visiting Frieda Nzala, a mother of four. Until today, she was collecting water from a hand-dug well. She’s excited that World Vision is bringing clean water to her village, and the entire village has turned out to celebrate the new water source. After the speeches, dances, and ribbon cutting, we have some quiet time with Frieda and her family.
It clearly means a lot to Frieda that every man, woman, and child in her village will now have clean water. When I ask her about the impact of the clean water, she doesn’t hesitate to tell me of the horrible impact of the contaminated water. Her family has suffered from dysentery and vomiting.
She tells me that she took Matthew, her 18-month-old son, to the hospital just last month. Matthew was very dehydrated from persistent diarrhea, and Frieda worried that he might die. This wasn’t the first time that she thought her children might die from severe dysentery. She feels blessed that now she won’t have to take her children to the hospital because of diseases from unclean water.
We hear that not only are these open wells dangerous because they provide unclean water, but a neighbor’s child recently broke his leg when he fell into one of the open wells. It’s not surprising that the community is now dancing and celebrating because the well is tapped and clean water spews into the air.
I speak with Christopher Sangalube, one of the head drillers on the World Vision Water team. He tells me that the drilling is hard work but humbling because he sees the positive impact that clean water has on the villages.
When World Vision started providing water points in Zambia in 2004, Christopher never dreamed that the team would grow to the point that we’d be able to provide hundreds of water points every year. And he’s particularly excited that we’re getting the job completed in village after village.
We visit a nearby village to see the impact that clean water has provided. We walk with Victoria Kayumba to the stream where she used to collect water. It’s nearly a 30-minute walk each way and down a steep embankment. As we near the stream, a small herd of cattle overtake us. Victoria says that this is common and she frequently had to collect her water from the stream as the cattle charged into the water. What’s worse is that the cattle urinate and defecate in the water, leaving it highly contaminated.
We then visit the new water source that World Vision provided in her village. Now Victoria and all of her neighbors have a short and easy walk to fetch water. It’s clean and the water source is protected so that animals don’t have access to it. Victoria tells us that her kids are back in school now and healthy. She tells us, “God bless the donors who made this possible.”
By Dr. Greg Allgood