By Precious Moyo
WOMEN in Bulawayo have expressed relief after Coca-Cola Foundation launched a US$50 000 water project aimed at drilling six boreholes in the city's high density suburbs.
The project which is a partnership between Coca-Cola company Danchurch Aid, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is targeted at 25 000 people.
The boreholes are being drilled at six sites which are Emakhandeni A, Emakhandeni B, Pumula South, Magwegwe North, Old Pumula and Pumula South - New Venture.
In a series of interviews with Amakhosikazi Media, women welcomed the initiative saying it's going to ease pressure on them since they are the most burdened population when it comes to service delivery.
"We are so happy about this project because it comes as a relief to us as women. Here in Emakhandeni we would go for weeks without water but now having community boreholes will serve us a lot," said Mrs Naomi Hlabangana from Emakhandeni suburb.
Hlabangana added that most women would walk for long distances in search of the precious liquid.
"Sometimes we would wake up at 4AM to go to Pumula North in search of water and it exposed us to a lot of abuse cases especially our young girls. Having a water source nearby will protect us and our girls," she said.
Another woman, Miss Agnes Mhlanga said winding water queues also exposed them to Covid-19.
"Most of the times at boreholes people don't observe social distancing and we will be crowded. This exposes us to Covid-19 but atleast if we have more than one borehole it will ease the pressure at community boreholes," she said.
Mhlanga said the water woes in the city are a thorn in the flesh of women.
"You have to fetch water, take care of children and at the same time look for money. This is burdensome for us and atleast we pin hope on this project that it will relieve us," she said.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony in Emakhandeni, Coca-Cola Zimbabwe manager Milidzani Ncube said the project will in love the drilling of six boreholes, installation of solar pumping mechanism and accessories for water kiosks and tanks which will greatly enhance livelihoods of Bulawayo.
"On completion the project will improve access to safe drinking water, improve sanitation and hygiene and reduce the risks of water borne infectious diseases," he said.
BCC deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said this water project will ease water woes in the city especially for women.
"This project is most welcome and it has come as a relief to our people especially women who had to suffer trying to secure water, " he said.
Ncube urged the community to safeguard the boreholes against vandalism.
He also urged residents to observe Covid-19 regulations at the boreholes.