Downstream impact

Image of a teenage girl collecting water from water buckets
Access to clean water doesn’t just help reduce the spread of infection, it transforms entire communities. It gives students like Natasha the chance to attend school instead of spending hours hauling water for her family.
Written by Colin Zak, published on April 5, 2022 Sign up for eNews

In the village of Kwanga, in southern Zambia, the rehabilitation of a borehole has meant local access to abundant, fresh water for the entire community.

For Natasha, it’s brought the ability to attend school full time. Previously, she had to walk several kilometres each day to fetch water for her family. This took so much extra time and energy that she began missing school.

Together, we rehabilitated Kwanga’s borehole in 2021. It’s one of 96 non-functioning boreholes that we have rehabilitated in the past three years, in addition to the 106 that we have drilled in the Sinazongwe district, in Zambia’s arid south.

This has helped eliminate blinding trachoma infections from the district. Locally-available water has also brought a host of benefits across communities like Natasha’s, including improved health outcomes, thriving local economies and improved opportunities for women and girls.

“Access to fresh water prevents the spread of trachoma and other infections and also brings many benefits to the local community,” explains Vikas Gora, our Global Director of International Programs.

With less time spent hauling water long distances, locally-available water gives students like Natasha (pictured here with her brother) the opportunity to attend school and thrive.

Now that the borehole in her village is functioning again, Natasha and several other girls in her class no longer have to haul water for long distances, and they are back attending school full time.

Access to clean water doesn’t just help reduce the spread of infection — it brings long-lasting and sustainable change to the entire community.

Thanks to our donors and partnerships with local Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) committees that are trained to maintain boreholes and ensure their longevity, we’re creating a ripple effect that is being felt in other communities across Zambia.