The Cordis Charitable Trust funded “Integrated Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Livelihoods “project through training such as Training for Transformation and Community Based Management has led to the establishment of piped water scheme user committees in ward 8, Maninji, Mangwe district. The committees are responsible for ensuring the sustainability of the piped water schemes through proper use and maintenance. They also spearhead all activities that concern the piped water scheme such as repairing, fundraising to buy spares and cleaning around the water scheme to maintain hygienic conditions.

“The three committees that oversee the Maninji Primary Health Care, Maninji Primary School and community have an eight-membership structure. Each of the committees has a functional, well written constitution with clear committee’s roles and responsibilities and understood by piped water scheme users”, said Mr Mpofu, piped water scheme, committee member.

The committees meet regularly to discuss issues related to respective water scheme sites. Adherence to the constitution and high-level community cohesion accelerated the installation of the piped water scheme. According to committee members interviewed, the piped water scheme users have a shared vision which is to ensure the provision of clean, potable water for the Maninji Primary Health Care, Primary and Secondary schools for improved sanitation and hygiene. This goes on to show that the communities have the zeal and strong sense of project ownership which led to their high level of participation during installations. Their understanding of the need to participate in their water project to promote sustainability was attributed to the capacity building workshops.

The training received at Maninji ward also led to the resuscitation of the Water and Sanitation Sub Committee(WWSSC). To date, there has been an improvement in the way the WWSSC co-ordinate their activities. They meet monthly to discuss and encourage communities on the importance of Community Based Management on water and sanitation facilities. They also encourage women’s participation in management of water and sanitation facilities. This has seen piped water scheme committees having a total of 75% women in leadership positions such as chairpersons and treasurers. Women’s contributions in water and sanitation have been recognized and their role as custodians and effective managers of water resources strengthened. Women have taken on what were traditionally male-perceived societal roles and responsibilities. The active role of women in water resources management will go a long way in ensuring that their voices and interests in water resources are catered for.