Living Water International—through the support of The Crossing—has partnered with Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) to empower churches in Epworth to improve water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) through the Salt and Light (SaLi) model. The SaLi Church Empowerment Model (SaLiCEM) for WASH underlines the church’s integral role both in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as social involvement—the demonstration of the word through serving communities. In light of empowering the church, the program places emphasis on assisting the local churches to appreciate the God-given mandate that calls them to serve communities. The aim is on utilizing local resources to bring about transformation with regards to water and sanitation by contributing resources for instance labor.
To make sustainability a reality, EFZ adopted the function of the Water Point Committees (WPCs) as a key institution and a means to that end. These committees ensure the transfer of control of water point management from the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Living Water International to the community members.
In addition, the community engagement aspect involves building the capacity of the WPCs, the WASH committees, and the modeling churches on issues regarding group dynamics, financial management, record keeping, conflict resolution, and other issues as identified.
To ensure that communities are fully engaged, the aspect of formal written agreements in the form of Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) has been deemed imperative. In light of the above, we undertake detailed consultations with partners and district local authorities around the desirability for and content of formal written agreements with communities setting out roles and responsibilities and operations and maintenance plans.
Living Water—through EFZ—aims to mobilize and empowers local churches to become active agents of holistic integral mission for community transformation by:
Over the next five years, the program will focus on four geographical areas: Epworth, Mutoko, Murewa, and Zvishavane districts.
Safe drinking water is fundamental to health, survival, growth, and development. Regrettably, Zimbabwe has faced deterioration in water access services and this has been cited as one of the risk factors to WASH epidemics (cholera and typhoid) that continue to threaten the country. Over the next five years, Living Water—through EFZ—will strategically focus more on rehabilitations and new wells than other water solutions. The interventions will have a rural focus because that is where the greatest need is in Zimbabwe according to the national WASH sector strategy.
Since our inception, Living Water Zimbabwe has realized the need for operations and maintenance (O&M) to improve the performance, efficiency, and sustainability of our water access points. EFZ observes that Operations and Maintenance (O&M) is a key factor of sustainability and is not just a technical issue. It encompasses social, gender, economic, institutional, political, managerial, and environmental aspects, therefore, our strategy has a broad scope. EFZ’s O&M strategy will make use of the nationally established structures in the districts by handing over the responsibility of O&M to the District Development Fund’s (DDF) Water Division Section through what is called the Three Tier System. In this Three Tier System, local communities will play an important role in planning, supplies, maintenance, and recurrent financing of their own water supplies with support from the DDF, but with facilitation from the Water Point Committee (first tier). The rehabilitation process of boreholes will be an excellent opportunity for the team to train the Village Pump Minders (VPMs). The communities will be involved in the rehabilitation process so that they may learn how to attend to minor mechanical breakdowns with the support of the DDF and the Water Point Committees. The Village Pump Minders will collect the necessary equipment from the DDF and repair boreholes (second tier), however, if the breakdowns are major then DDF will be the fallback structure (third tier). EFZ will facilitate that DDF attends to the breakdown. This will help to reduce the downtime of the water points.
EFZ leads the Community Health Club (CHC) approach through collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Environmental Health Technicians (EHTs). The Community Health Clubs are voluntary organizations, open to all ages, with varying levels of education and statuses, and are free of charge for both men and women. The training materials for health promotion consist of 14 sets of illustrated cards based on observation at village level and pre-tested on non-literate villagers.
Monitoring of these clubs is done by project management staff, and also by the communities themselves. Community-based monitoring and evaluation forms are developed, and the club members will be trained to keep accurate records of all aspects of their community. The membership card is also a key monitoring instrument. Every session attended will be signed and dated by the community-based facilitator. When the card is completed, the member is entitled to a certificate of full attendance. This enables the program to quantify precisely the number of people attending, and also how many have completed the training. This information helps make a comparison of the relative outputs of other facilitators in different areas. All hygiene promotion is connected to either a new water point or a rehabilitation project.
EFZ uses the Salt and Light church engagement model, premised on the integral mission philosophy as well as church participation in WASH programming. The integral mission philosophy underscores the inseparable role of the local churches in both the proclamation and the demonstration of the word of God. It emphasizes that the church is the salt and light of the community; hence they should lead in finding the practical solutions to the practical challenges that the communities face. In this model, EFZ builds the capacity of the local churches in identification, designing, planning, managing and monitoring of WASH programs. EFZ envisages church mobilization as a process whereby churches have transcended their differences to meet on equal terms in order to facilitate participatory decision-making. In light of the above, the churches become aware of the shared concern or need and then they decide together to take action.
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