Demonstrating the value of community leadership in the fight against COVID-19

Community member talking about the impacts of training
Linda Masuwa Ward Development Committee Secretary
Copyright NatuReS Zambia

The ability of a community to mitigate against adverse effects of Covid-19 by preventing its spread is crucial in fighting the current pandemic. Especially the success of sensitization campaigns depends heavily on the adequate communication within local communities. NatuReS Zambia, in collaboration with the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) and Lusaka City Council (LCC), demonstrates how response measures can be grounded and effectively carried out under the leadership of community governance structures. 

Building on the community engagement and empowerment processes implemented by LCC, Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM) conducted a series of trainings for Ward Development Committees and Community Facilitators. Their capacity to build networks and effectively communicate with the communities is key in the implementation of Covid-19 prevention measures. The goal of the trainings is to build a pipeline of community-generated stories that link communities with media houses to give a practical expression of community views, experiences, lessons, ideas and knowledge on Covid-19. The more communities identify with awareness campaigns and prevention measures, the stronger is their ability to fight the spread of the pandemic.

This training series is also an important aspect of social change, as it represents an interactive avenue to communicate societal thinking and norms. It will help convey experiences from the perspective of communities and hence make it possible to better inform future interventions. Moreover, evaluating the effectiveness of measures and expanding lessons learnt and best practices within communities will ensure a stronger impact and eventually improve public health. 

Community member talking about training
Masauso Ng’ombe Ward Development Committee Secretary
Copyright NatuReS Zambia

Author: Sonile Mutafya, NatuReS Advisor, Zambia

Nature-Based Solutions to reduce pollution of lake Hawassa

The use of wetlands for water pollution control dates back to the ancient Chinese and Egyptian civilizations. Wetlands reduce water pollution by removing pollutants coming from surface waters. Constructed wetlands (CW) provide sustainable, low cost, robust and efficiently engineered systems for water treatment, with added ecosystem services.

Since its construction in 2013, Amora Gedel (Eagle’s Valley) CW has been serving to improve the quality of storm water discharging into the lake Hawassa. Amora Gedel was constructed as a joint project by the Hawassa City Administration and the World Bank in Hawassa City. Due to increasing wear-and-tear, human activities, inadequate operation and maintenance over the years, a general overhaul was much needed. Protecting lake Hawassa (PLH) members identified the CW as one of the priority action areas.

People working on the constructed wetland Amora Gedel
Rehabilitating Amora Gedel constructed wetland to reduce pollutants entering Lake Hawassa
Copyright: NatuReS Ethiopia

Joint action

Earlier this year, NatuReS and the Hawassa Municipality embarked on rehabilitating the Amora Gedel CW. The rehabilitation is part of the PLH Partnership activities. Pooling resources together, NatuReS took the responsibility over the renovation works. Ensuring the long-term sustainability and functionality of the CW will be a task overseen by the municipality.

An Ethiopia-based wastewater construction company is conducting the rehabilitation and supervised by Aquacon Engineering consultants. The Municipality also provided operators for maintaining the CW once rehabilitated. A team from the Municipality, Acquacon, NatuReS and community representatives will carry out the inspection and follow-up work.

Protecting Lake Hawassa members visiting Amora Gedel wetland
PLH members visiting the construction site
Copyright: NatuReS Ethiopia

The Rift Valley Lakes including Lake Hawassa are currently experiencing a rise in water levels. Amora Gedel rehabilitation is facing challenges from this water level rise, as it results in a mix of lake and storm water. Considering this phenomenon, NatuReS and its partners are acting to reduce the risk and make the CW climate-proof. Raising the whole water treatment ponds by 50cm and rerouting the inlet deliver channel is the action taken to address this risk.

Nature-based solution

Restored to its former glory, the Amora Gedel CW will again be able to treat the first flash of storm water from the city’s drainage channels. This is important, as the first flow is the most polluted, sweeping away dust and garbage from the drainage channels towards the lake. The municipal staff will be collecting large particles such as plastic bottles trapped by the trash rack. Through a biological process, the smaller pollutants, including heavy metals, will be filtered from the water in the CW. This process will make use of aquatic plants (i.e. reeds, duckweed), naturally occurring microorganisms and a filter bed (sand, soils and gravel). The completion of the CW will be right before the start of the rainy season in June.

Official launch of the NatuReS programme and partnerships in Uganda

The Natural Resources Stewardship (NatuReS) programme Uganda and its Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area PET plastic recycling partnership were officially launched by the European Union, GIZ and the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment. On March 24th, 2021, the launch took place as a side event of the Uganda Water and Environment Week 2021 at the Ministry of Water and Environment.

Launch of NatuReS Uganda and presentation of artpiece
EU, GIZ and Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment officially launched the NatuReS programme in Uganda by signing a commemorative piece of art
Copyright: Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda

During the event, partners and donors gave opening remarks. Among them were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment Alfred Okot Okiidi, the Commissioner Water Resources Planning and Regulation Dr. Callist Tindimugaya, the programme manager for the EU Delegation to Uganda, Jean Baptiste Fauvel, and GIZ Country Director James MacBeth Forbes.

Objectives of the programme

In Uganda, NatuReS focuses on strengthening the inclusive green economy in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area as well as Gulu City. Objectives of the programme are:

  • enabling multi-stakeholder partnerships in solid waste management & circular initiatives, urban flood resilience, wetland management and sustainable eco-industrial parks
  • increasing capacity of public and civil society actors, as well as the private sector, on natural resources stewardship
  • embedding lessons learnt and emerging good policy regarding natural resources stewardship

Multi-stakeholder partnership

The Greater Kampala PET plastic recycling partnership is a multi-stakeholder partnership. Accordingly, partners from private, public sector and civil society are:

  • Uganda Ministry of Water and Environment,
  • National Environment Management Authority (NEMA),
  • Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA),
  • Coca-Cola Beverages Africa,
  • Mukwano Industries Uganda Ltd.,
  • Uganda Water & Juice Manufacturers Association,
  • Global Green Growth Institute.

Together, they strive towards improving the sustainable management of PET plastic waste in and around Kampala by developing an inclusive green recycling sector.

Partnership members during panel discussion during NatuReS launch
Panel dicussion on “Cross-sectoral partnerships as a way forward to water and environment security” attended by the partners of the GKMA PET plastic recycling partnership
Copyright: Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda

During the launch event, a panel discussion on “Cross-sectoral partnerships as a way forward to water and environment security” took place. It was attended by Patience Nsereko (Principal Environment Officer, NEMA), Jude Byansi (Supervisor Waste & Sanitation, KCCA), George Asiimwe (Senior Officer Urbanisation, Global Green Growth Institute), Collins Oloya (Director, Directorate Environment Affairs in the Ministry of Water and Environment), Morgan Bbonna (Secretary, Uganda Water and Juice Manufacturers Association) and Samuel Kangave (Plant Manager, Plastic Recycling Industries).

Handover of tuktuks for waste collection

handover of Tuktuks used for waste collection
Ceremonial handover of tuktuks used for waste collection from the Ministry of Water and Environment to KCCA
Copyright: Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda

A ceremonial handover of 10 tuktuks from the Ministry of Water and Environment to KCCA followed. The vehicles will facilitate waste collection in ten municipalities within the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area. Above all, they will enable efficient and timely collection of waste, hence making sure it can be channelled into the recycling value chain.

An artwork representing NatuReS

In parallel, a visual artist produced a live artwork which donors and partners signed in the end of the event to officially launch the NatuReS programme Uganda and its partnerships.

Man signing an artwork piece on stewardship in Uganda
The Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda Alfred Okot Okiidi signing the artwork to launch the NatuReS programme Uganda
Copyright: Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda

Improving water supply for low income communities in Lusaka

As one of the fastest-growing cities in Southern Africa, the Zambian capital Lusaka faces numerous threats to its water security. This is especially the case for low-income areas, where mere access to water remains a challenge. One such area is George Compound, a peri-urban community of 200,000 residents located in the Western part of Lusaka. Many residents fetch their water at public kiosks, serviced by the local utility company’s wellfields. However, some residents still fetch it from contaminated or heavily polluted shallow wells.

To address this problem, the Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company (LWSC) implemented a water supply improvement project in George compound and the surrounding industrial area. The project was financed by Zambian Breweries (ZB) at a cost of 150,000$. It involved the drilling of a borehole and the installation of a 3.4km pipeline to George compound.

pipeline for improved water security
The commissioned pipeline
Copyright: LWSC and ZB

Over 40,000 community members will benefit from this collective action, implemented under the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) partnership. Additionally, it will also serve as a COVID-19 prevention measure, as it provides reliable access to water and hence makes e.g. regular hand-washing possible.

The Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, Honorable Rapheal Nakachinda, commissioned the project infrastructure on March 19th, 2021. NatuReS Zambia as partners of LuWSI facilitate and promote such collective action in order to manage natural resources for sustainable growth and better livelihoods.

people inaugurating the new pipeline
Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, Rapheal Nakachinda, inaugurating the new pipeline
Copyright: LWSC and ZB

Author: Sonile Mutafya, NatuReS Advisor, Zambia


Always stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletter

NatuReS is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-funded by the European Union and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). This website’s contents are the sole responsibility of GIZ and do not necessarily reflect the views of the BMZ, European Union or FCDO.

Newsletter subscription

Please enter your email address to subscribe to our newsletter