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Zambia: More school time for girls

It is the duty of women, mostly young girls, to collect water for their homes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Girls often miss school as they have to walk long distances to fetch water. It is estimated that collectively women spend about 40 billion hours a year on the task. Can we free them and help get proper education instead?

In 2014, Habitat for Humanity and Alabbar Enterprises, a parent company for a variety of retail and e-commerce franchise operations across the Middle East and Asia, launched a three-year partnership to bring clean and safe water for communities in Zambia. Through this project, many girls will be relieved of their household duty and freed to pursue education that will open up new opportunities for them.

‘Maanzi’, meaning water in the local language, is a project to improve access to water and sanitation for children and youths, mainly school-attending girls. It will will contribute to the Millennium Development Goals and bring improvement for the communities of Mahopo, Kanyama, and Tiyende Pamodzi in the Lusaka District of Zambia.

The aims of this project are as follows:

  • Improve and increase access to sanitation, clean water.
  • Water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion.
  • Installation of water points.
  • Ventilated improved pit latrines and improved sewage systems.
  • Strengthen community leadership in management of water and sanitation facilities.
  • Increase knowledge and improved hygiene practices in the communities.
  • Water points and sanitation facilities, including drainage systems, will be installed in the communities. To ensure changes in behavior, Habitat will provide trainings on water, sanitation and health, as well as water management and maintenance.

With the support from Alabbar Enterprises, Habitat will build 12 water kiosks and pumps, distribute containers for transporting the water to homes. Since the beneficiaries will not have to walk many kilometers for water, it will save them significant time to attend school and learn. It will also dramatically reduce waterborne diseases that very often present serious threats to health and well-being of local communities.