By Corina Clemente - In Mbulawa and Nhanguo, water from two brand new wells flowed for the first time. Access to clean water is essential for reducing common and sometimes deadly water-borne diseases in rural areas with no plumbing or water treatment services. Another important benefit of community wells is the time and energy that local women and children will save from walking long distances to gather water on a daily basis for all household needs (drinking, bathing, cooking and cleaning).
Photo: Local woman during the well inauguration ceremony (by James Byrne)
The inauguration ceremony symbolized the handing over of the well from the park to the local community. Upkeep of the wells will be the responsibility of locally created water committees, who will collect nominal fees from households and ensure wells are well maintained according to local government specifications and guidance.
Photo: Local children celebrate the new well in their community (by James Byrne)
The festivities also included the performance in local Sena dialect of a play about hygiene and sanitation by a local high-school theater group, dancing and singing by the community and a ceremony paying respect to the spirits of the community's ancestors. The wells were made possible with the generous support of the American people through the USAID funded Ecohealth project.
Photo: Corina Clemente, the Ecohealth manager, speaks to the communities. (by James Byrne)
Park Administrator Mateus Mutemba and Director of Conservation, Pedro Muagura, were on hand to get the first glasses of clean, refreshing water! During the ceremony, Administrator Mutemba reminded community members that they were the first line of defense in conservation efforts and that they must always speak out against poaching, logging and uncontrolled fires.
Photo: The Gorongosa Park Administrator, Mateus Mutemba, drinks the first glass of water from the new well. (by James Byrne)
Photo: Pedro Nhama, the District Permanent Secretary, drinks water from the well, with Pedro Muagura (Gorongosa Director of Conservation) in the background (by James Byrne)
He emphasized that benefits provided through the Ecohealth program, which also includes support of community health workers, traditional birth attendants and mobile clinics, comes with responsibilities of sustainable use of natural resources to ensure the restoration of the precious Gorongosa ecosystem.
Photo: Mateus Mutemba speaks to the community about the importance of preserving Gorongosa’s natural resources for their own well-being. (by James Byrne)