Gokwe North residents combine to construct Gwandu Dam

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…safe drinking water remains a challenge

Richard Dondo

Members of Gokwe North, ward 28 have come together and constructed a Dam to ease the perennial water challenges facing them, this publication can reveal.

Gwandu Dam was constructed in ward 28 Gokwe North District under Headman Madzivazvido in Chief Chireya’s area. The dam construction commenced in 2014 with village heads including Madhongwe, Sayi and Chirambanengomo mobilizing villagers to manually construct it. The village heads also organised their villagers to contribute $USD15 each in 2014 for the start of the construction.

Money was contributed as an assurance that one becomes a member of the dam or to benefit from the dam. Villagers embraced the dam construction after facing the challenges of walking 15km every day to the nearest water sources for both domestic use and their livestock.
Gokwe Kabuyuni constituency secretary for the MP, Mr Sungano Maseve said Gwandu dam is being constructed by the effort of villagers after a long struggle of water crisis.

“Since 2014 we have not received any donation from government despite several applications made. We solely depend on our community members because looking beyond, our community has yielded nothing. We allocated members a portion to work on and each member is supposed to finish the allocated task. The tasks entail digging and moving the soil to the dam wall. The whole process has been characterized by unity of purpose and a shared vision,” he said.

Before the construction of Gwandu Dam, villagers were using one borehole at Chirisa. The pressure on that borehole bred a lot of social ills including continued fighting and incidences of sexual abuse. Girls would spend many hours at the borehole including during the night waiting for their turn to fetch water. Young boys would be engaged in fist fights as some unruly would try to skip the queue and serve them first. The dam construction has come as a huge relief.

The chairperson of Mother Support Group from Camfed said before the construction of the dame getting water was a serious challenge.

“We used to travel to Gwetsenga spring which is close to Chirisa National Game Park to fetch water for drinking while endangering our livesin the process. We would encounter elephants at that spot but fortunately we have not recorded on fatalitiesm,” she said.

Gwandu Dam has become a key source of nutritional value because it has given birth to a community garden initiative catering for 150 families with each family boasting of nine beds. The community garden is run by a committee which includes members of the Dam Committee as well.

Speaking to this publication, Siphiwe Makiwa a community member stated that they used to buy vegetables from far places such as Burure and Sasame usually through barter trade.

“Each year, we would reach the next harvest without maize in our granaries because all was used for buying vegetables. Now we have our own garden which can supply other markets,” she said.

Village head Majaira Madhongwe said that there is a complete change in his village due to Gwandu Dam.

“The dam has transformed the lives of newly married families requesting space. The dam has cat fish, and young boys are fishing and selling to the community. What remains a problem for us is safe water for drinking and hopefully we can get support from well-wishers,” he said.

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