UNITED States-based Zimbabwean, Lumbie Mlambo is spearheading the drilling of six boreholes meant to provide water for drinking and irrigation in the Matobo Hills area.
Mlambo, who did her high school at Matobo Mission in Matabeleland South, is doing the project through a nonprofit organisation called JB Dondolo, which she founded in 2016.
“We are drilling six managed boreholes which we intend to solarise for irrigation so the community can do farming and plant vegetables in gardens to sustain themselves. We are working with a company called Aqua Drilling for ,” Mlambo told the Daily News.
Named Matobo Hills Water Project, the initiative is the brainchild of a Bulawayo-based philanthropist called Dot Bekker.
“The Matobo Hills Water Project was proposed to my organisation by an amazing lady called Dot Bekker. All that she wants is to help this community with clean water so their lives are improved. You could say her pitch won my heart; I couldn’t turn this project down.
“The boreholes solve the problem that communities have with the lack of access to clean water in the Matobo area. These communities are in desperate need of water close to their homesteads. Women and girls spend most of their time walking several miles a day to collect water. As you may know, collection of water heavily relies on women and girls,” she said.
The JB Dondolo founder is hopeful that improved access to water will create time for girls to pursue education.
“Access to clean water is a gateway to getting people out of poverty, especially women. These boreholes would save time and give women and girls back their time so they focus more on themselves, learn new skills, take care of their families, and pursue careers. Girls would go to school and hopefully graduate and contribute to economic development and growth. A healthy life can only be achieved if people have safe drinking water. The managed boreholes are one way to ensure delivery of clean water,” she said.
According to Mlambo, the project will benefit hundreds of households in the Matobo area.
“We expect this farming project to help over 400 households in Silozwi area, possibly impacting the rest of Matobo area, an estimated 90 000 population, as the project grows,” said the JB Dondolo founder.
But what inspired Mlambo to form an organisation that spearheads initiatives that promote access to clean water?
“My interest in water issues really picked up when I worked on a project in Nyamandlovu. It was the first time I really understood the need for water. I committed to learning more about water and becoming more involved.
“I have since then become a Global Goals Ambassador because I know water touches everything. Almost every UN Sustainable Development Goal (SGG) connects in some way with SDG 6: clean water, sanitation and hygiene,” she told the Daily News.
To draw attention to the importance of access to clean water in the fight against poverty, Mlambo’s organisation runs an annual international campaign for a water-inspired song called Music for water.
“Music for Water is open to all musicians. The songs are judged by music industry judges and by public votes. The top five songs are shortlisted. Then we have a gala to announce the top three winners who get a one-time distribution deal with Grand Mountain International Records (G.M.I.R) – international record label.
“The first prize winner’s song becomes our theme song for the year in addition to the distribution deal. This is a fun initiative that unites people throughout the world with music. Among the top five contestants this year we have a Zimbabwean talent called Valentine’ Valeen X’ Hangazha,” she said.