As part of mitigating the adverse effects of Climate change, a Social Accountability Team (SAT) trained by Heal Zimbabwe in Tsholotsho North has stepped up its efforts in promoting the right to water. The right to water is one of the human rights that are provided for under various international instruments. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings. Under international human rights law, water is implicitly and explicitly protected as a human right.
The right to water entitles everyone to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 also provides for clean water and sanitation. It is against such a background that the Social Accountability team conducted a dialogue meeting on 31 October 2020 aimed at giving feedback on progress made in the construction of a dam that will assist the local community with water for irrigation and livestock. The dialogue meeting was a follow up meeting from a previous meeting conducted in February 2020 on a dam construction before the COVID 19 lockdown. The dialogue was attended by representatives from the dam committee, Disaster Risk Reduction Committee (DRRC), Traditional leaders, an Engineer from Tsholotsho Rural District Council (RDC), community members as well as representatives from the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE).
The dialogue meeting also provided a platform for the Councillor to provide feedback on other issues such as resource allocation under the Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) and other related issues. The Councillor reported that so far, the local Legislator donated 80 bags of cement and 200 litres of diesel towards the dam construction, Tsholotsho RDC provided a water bowser while Matupula hunters, a local hunting company under CAMPFIRE donated 10 bags. The Councillor further reported that he will further engage a solar company that intends to set up solar plants in the area to make donations towards the construction of the dam as part of social corporate responsibility. He further commended the SAT and borehole committees for working hand in glove to ensure that there was progress in the dam construction project as this helps the community to be better prepared for climate change.”I would want to thank the Social Accountability Team and the Borehole Committees for working round the clock convening such meetings that allows communities to demand accountability and transparency over the use of resources for the dam construction. I urge Village Development Committees (VIDCOs) and Ward Development Committees (WADCOs) to partner these committees for active participation by everyone. The dam will help us mitigate against challenges posed by climate change”, he said.
Other issues that came out during the dialogue meeting include food security issues that have seen the District receiving limited food aid during the COVID 19 lockdown. Communities also reported that COVID 19 has reduced economic activities in the area and this has left most people vulnerable to hunger and starvation. The Social Accountability dialogues are part of Heal Zimbabwe’s advocacy initiative that seeks to promote social cohesion and improve service delivery within local communities. Cohesive communities help establish harmony so that people are tolerant of each other and live together in peace. Added to this, the dialogues also seek to bring the voices of citizens into governance, enabling citizens to monitor and provide feedback on the delivery of services, and helping to build trust between rights holders and duty bearers.