Author: s.mutafya

World Rivers Day Commemoration and Launch of the Zambezi Source Restoration Project in Zambia

World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world’s waterways. It’s a day set aside to highlight and remind us of the value that rivers bring to support life, encouraging improved stewardship of all rivers around the world. The World River’s Day Celebration in Zambia was held on the 26th of September 2022 at the source of the mighty Zambezi River in Ikelenge district, in the Northwestern part of the country. The theme of this year’s celebration was “The importance of Rivers for Biodiversity. “

World Rivers Day Celebrations
World Rivers Day Celebrations.
Copyright: Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation

In the key note speech read on behalf of the Minister of Water, Development and Sanitation, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Ikelenge constituency Hon. Elijah Muchima, highlighted the significant role rivers play for our livelihoods. He bemoaned the degradation of rivers and freshwater ecosystems due to unregulated and overuse of water, pollution, river bank cultivation and deforestation, causing erosion and siltation of river beds. He emphasized the Zambian government’s commitment to champion policy reforms and strengthen leadership in the management of water resources, including the restoration of the Zambezi source landscape.

The Minister of Lands and Natural resources delivering the keynote speech.
Copyright: Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation

In light of this commitment, the Provincial Minister of North-Western Province, Honorable Robert Lihefu MP, launched the Zambezi Source Ecosystem Restoration Project at the same event. The project, which will be implemented in collaboration with WWF, Stanbic Bank, GIZ’s NatuReS Programme, the Forestry Department and the National Heritage Commission, seeks to improve natural resources management in the Zambezi Headwaters area. Partners aim for restoring the ecosystem to a condition representative of the native ecosystem. They will also support alternative livelihoods for the local communities.

The Managing Director and CEO of Stanbic Bank Zambia PLC, Mr. Mwindwa Siakalima, stressed the need to preserve the health of the river and pledged to continue supporting the efforts to restore the ecosystem at the source. Additionally, the Country Director of WWF, Ms. Nachila Nkhombo, urged government to take steps to legally protect the area and commended the traditional leadership for the their support in protecting the Zambezi source.

The celebration ended with a tree planting activity at the Zambezi Source, led by Her Royal Highness, Cheiftainess Ikeleng’i.

Her Royal Highness, Cheiftainess Ikeleng’i leading the tree planting process.
Copyright: Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation

NatuReS is part of the initiative to protect the Zambezi River, as the degradation of the Zambezi River source has the potential to affect everyone, and no single actor can improve water security by working alone. Different capacities are required to prevent water insecurity. Only by partnering across sectors can the Zambezi River be protected in the long run.

“Fit for Schools” visits the Safe Back to School Campaign in Lusaka, Zambia

Safe learning environments remain a priority for partners collaborating under the Safe Back to School (SB2S) campaign, launched under the Lusaka Water Security Initiative`s Green Schools Partnership Proramme in reaction to the Covid-19 outbreak. Partners now hosted the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) advisor for the GIZ-implemented programme “Fit for Schools”, Ms Anna Kristina Kanathiogoda, in Lusaka. The event took place on the 10th of August 2022 at Chakunkula Combined School, one of the 180 schools in Lusaka that has so far benefitted from WASH interventions under the SB2S Campaign.

Handwashing demonstration, using the jumbo handwashing facility installed at Chakunkula Combined School in Lusaka.
Copyright: GIZ/Mu Kreativz

The campaign targets schools with large enrolment numbers, special needs, challenges with water access and availability, as well as with providing adequate sanitation. It supports sensitization programmes for teachers, learners and the surrounding communities on proper WASH practices, as well as the installation of jumbo handwashing stations for many pupils to wash their hands simultaneously. Given the campaign`s success, the Fit for Schools visit to Zambia was aimed at getting a deeper understanding of the various WASH interventions under the campaign`s previous phases.

WaterAid Zambia representative Ms. Bwalya Nachula explaining the various activities implemented under the SB2S Campaign.
Copyright: GIZ/Mu Kreativz

Safe Back to School Partners include Lusaka City Council (LCC), Lusaka District Education Board (DEBS), WaterAid Zambia and the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) supported by NatuReS.

Chakunkula Combined School Head Teacher Ms. Georgina Kawila, highlighting the SB2S Campaign`s impacts on the school, the learners and the communities that learners come from. She stressed the need for more WASH sensitization interventions for parents. Copyright: GIZ/Mu Kreativz

Partners highlighted the strong collaboration and coordination between different organizations under the campaign, ensuring effective delivery of the project interventions. This has positively impacted the schools; creating a clean and green environment for leaners while building trust with the communities. This improved pupils` school attendance and strengthened the relationship between schools and communities.

Fit for schools supports ministries of education to sustainably improve water, sanitation and hygiene in schools. They are extending their reach to Zambia through the SB2S Campaign and will support the fourth phase of the campaign through the NatuReS Zambia programme.

Safe Back to School Campaign Partners. Copyright: GIZ/Mu Kreativz

The Safe Back to School Campaign in Lusaka – Close-out of Phase Three

The Green Schools Partnership Programme (GSPP) focuses on improving and enhancing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (“WASH”) in schools within Lusaka. It specifically targets public and community schools in Lusaka’s most vulnerable (peri-urban) communities.

The five key behaviors for good hygiene emphasized under the Green Schools Partnership Program. Copyright: GIZ

The Safe Back to School (SB2S) Campaign is a project implemented under the GSPP as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The campaign supports the implementation of prevention and control measures to enable learners and teachers return to school in a safe environment. This is achieved through improving knowledge of key hygiene behaviours for Covid-19 prevention in schools and surrounding communities, adherence to preventive measures, improving Covid-19 multi-sectoral coordination in Lusaka District and enhancing accountability and reporting mechanisms for targeted schools.

The SB2S campaign has had three phases since 2020, with the most recent phase ending in May 2022. In this third phase alone, 80 schools within Lusaka District have been reached, and 72.000 learners, 2.400 teachers and 400.000 community members have been sensitized and trained in Covid-19 prevention and proper sanitation and hygiene practices. The project also provides handwash facilities, waste bins and hygiene items to schools. For the sustainability of these facilities, local female entrepreneurs have been capacitated to fabricate the necessary handwash stations, improving economic opportunities for their local businesses. Collaborating partners of this project include Lusaka City Council, Lusaka District Education Board, the Zambian Ministry of Health, WaterAid and the University of Zambia (UNZA); all collaborating under the Lusaka Water Security Initiative(LuWSI) partnership.

Metal fabrication training for women to produce the necessary handwashing stations. Copyright: GIZ

To commemorate the success of the third phase of the SB2S campaign, a close-out event was held on the 13th of May 2022 at Mumana Primary School in Lusaka. The event garnered representation from all collaborating partners, including the District Commissioner’s office and the German Embassy. It included lively skits and poems from pupils of the target schools. During the event, the ten best performing schools in terms of WASH practices and facilities, i.e availability and accessability of sanitation and handwash facilities, were awarded with further hand hygiene and environmental cleaning materials. Moreover, the female entrepreneurs received their metal fabrication certification, testifying their capacity to produce the necessary handwashing stations.

Deborah Banda, one of the women trained in metal fabrication, receiving her certificate of successful training completion. Copyright: GIZ

Schools were also given the opportunity to display their environmental and menstrual health management innovations. There was praise and acknowledgement for the dedication and collaboration of partners towards the success of the campaign. Partners also made appeals for the campaign to continue and be extended to all the schools in Lusaka.

Kristin Otto, Deputy Head of Development at the German Embassy in Zambia, giving her speech re-affirming the German government support to improve Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Zambia and acknowledging the continued need to invest in WASH, especially in schools. Copyright: GIZ
Handwashing demonstration by the Deputy Head of Development at the German Embassy, Kristin Otto, and the Public Health Director from Lusaka City Council, Christopher Mtonga. Copyright: GIZ

NatuReS supports multi-stakeholder partnerships to sustainably manage natural resources and provide direct and effective support to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, mitigate its impacts and build more resilient cities and communities.

Empowering women entrepreneurs to mitigate consequences of Covid-19 in Lusaka, Zambia

Metal fabrication training. Copyright: GIZ

Handwashing as one of the most effective protective measures against Covid-19 has received unprecedented attention during the past two years of the pandemic. Twenty women-led community enterprises from low-income communities of Lusaka have therefore been trained and certified in the fabrication of handwash stations. Since many people’s livelihoods, especially women, have been and still are adversely affected by the pandemic, the training empowers the women entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 45 to meet the community’s needs for handwashing stations by offering a Jumbo Hand Wash fabrication and maintenance service while improving economic opportunities for their own local businesses.

The 11-week intensive training process led by technicians from the University of Zambia was completed in May 2022. It was conducted under the Safe back to School (SB2S) Campaign, a project supported under the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) in collaboration with Lusaka City Council, the Zambian Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, WaterAid, the University of Zambia (UNZA) and other partners under the Lusaka Water Security Initiative.

Elizabeth Banda receiving her certification for completion of the training. Copyright: GIZ

The SB2S campaign supports the implementation of prevention and control measures to enable learners and teachers return to school in a safe environment during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is done through improving knowledge of key hygiene behavior for Covid-19 prevention in schools and surrounding communities, improving Covid-19 multi-sectoral coordination in Lusaka District and enhancing accountability and reporting mechanisms. The project also provides handwash facilities, waste bins and hygiene items to schools.

The Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) supports multi-stakeholder partnerships to sustainably manage natural resources and provide direct and effective support to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, mitigate its impacts and build more resilient cities and communities for future outbreaks of communicable diseases. The NatuReS programme collaborates with partners such as Lusaka City Council, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, WaterAid, UNZA and other partners under the Lusaka Water Security Initiative

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