In the Dry and Dark Land: Women and Girls are at the Receiving End.

Letwin Mubonesi

In Zimbabwe, women and girls are spending their at least 200 million hours queueing for the precious liquid (water) and yet such time could be spent on income-generating activities which can contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

While queuing to fetch water, they are subjected to abuses and some men take advantage of the crisis, such that there has been reports of those who ask for sexual favours from women in return for easy access to water at boreholes in areas like Southlea Park, Chitungwiza and other suburbs in Harare.

Harare has over the years experienced serious water shortages and most recently Morton Jaffray Plant experienced brief closure when the Council failed to secure on time chemicals to treat water for safe citizen’s consumption.

The water shortages have seen a rise in some residents now selling water to those who do not have access to the boreholes and the burden still lies on women and girls to provide for the family needs such as food and for personal hygiene.

The water that is now being sold by the residents poses a huge risk to the health of the communities as they fetch it from unprotected sources putting the lives of desperate residents at risk of water-borne diseases like Cholera and Typhoid.

In some communities, a 20 litre bucket of water is being sold for $3 bond notes one can only imagine the impact of this to those who are ‘child heads of family’, how they are copying with the pressure and how they can afford this kind of lifestyle where water should be a basic necessity which the state must provide.

As pressures mount for the need to provide both power and water, women and girls remain burdened with this responsibility for the upkeep of the family, and one can picture a situation that a mother should wake up early to go for queueing to fetch water at the same time she needs to prepare school stuff for her kids, before she herself goes out to hustle to get money for the family.

One resident in Southlea Park, Amai Junior said that it is an unbearable situation but they have no choice.

“The situation is difficult to balance and we are beggars we have no choice when some are enjoying their sleep we will be already up to go to fetch water from the borehole, yet on the other hand, Junior needs his lunch to be prepared before he leaves for school and besides that he needs some water to bath. I have to make breakfast for him and you can imagine the situation. On top of that there will be no electricity, i need to make fire to cook for him, and it is tiresome,”

Water queues in areas where boreholes have been drilled are usually long making fetching water a time-consuming and burdensome process. At the borehole, it is never an easy thing as the source sometimes dries up to an extent that residents have to wait for some time for water to come out again.

In a recent video that circulated online, young men are seen violently pushing girls and women out of the borehole line, shoving their own empty tins to fetch water and a fight erupts, a man is seen pinning a woman down and the women continue to fight this unfortunate violence.

The situation of scarce water and power already violets women’s and girls’ human dignity, excludes them from economic activities as they have to spend time looking for these essentials while they are not paid for it, while usually men engage in these activities to sale and get money out of it.

The state has to understand these shortages from a women’s economic empowerment point of view and realising how this exposes women to violence and dehumanisation.

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) released a face sheet which reports that in Epworth constituency, Ward 2, there are reports of three men who have taken over boreholes and are forcing residents to purchase two buckets of water at $1, 50 and some unconfirmed reports of men asking for sexual favours from women in return for easy access to water at boreholes.

The untold suffering water shortages and power cuts have made life in the city unbearable for females especially. The routine of fetching firewood where women leave their homes early in the morning and return home late afternoon sometimes in the evening, clearly excludes them from economic participation, while exposing them to further threats of attacks by wild animals, as well as contributing to deforestation and poor environment management.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), reports that in most African counties girls between 10 and 14 years old spend about 120 million or more hours each day fetching water and doing other household chores as compared to their male counterparts. It also brings about gender imbalance discourses, among communities especially poor ones.

In Zimbabwe where local authorities have failed to provide clean water, it is largely the women, the youths and children whom they are burdening and ultimately abusing. The time that is being lost in pursuing these basic rights can never be gained back, and it renders our local youths unable to compete with their fellow counterparts in the same country or region and worse the world.

Instead of spending time creating new inventions and coming up with great ideas, sharpening their skills for the entrepreneurship and job market, the young people are spending fighting to survive and fighting for basic rights which whose struggle was long won through international treaties, conventions and our very own constitution.

Women Affairs, Community and Small to Medium Enterprises Development Ministry provincial officer Mr Joseph Mupinga once said women were the worst affected by the water and power cuts than their male counterparts. He later urged women to be innovative and store water in tanks when the supplies are restored, for future use when the taps run dry.

However the notion of encouraging women to store water assumes that the water is going to come through taps, many communities have not had running water for years, and majority of the families in Zimbabwe are living in areas that either have not been connected with water or have had systems failure and not fixed for years.

“Women and girls do most of the unpaid care work through caring for the terminally ill. They are also subjected to menstrual cycles and all that needs water which is scarce. Most women bear the brunt of energy poverty as they are seen climbing mountains in search for firewood as well as queuing for water. This shows women or girls do not rest when key utilities are scarce,” he said.

One prominent lawyer, Miss Catherine Matanga, said while efforts were made to address women’s rights in the country, more needs to be done when it comes to accessing to basic utilities.

“We are happy that the country has established a Gender Commission whose mandate is to address gender loopholes. However, I feel there is more that needs to be done and that includes giving the commission more resources so that its activities cover the whole country. In this era of water crisis, women are most disadvantaged and that needs to be addressed. The Gender Commission is doing well in raising awareness on infringements done on women but there are still gaps,” she said.

Nyari Mashayamombe

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

download xxx video in lola loud rule 34 sexo mujer con caballos black and asia porn, porn videos in h d lesbian movies on netflix high scool dxd porn my first girlfriend is a gal uncencered, dad son gay porn jenna jameson the masseuse the best of porn stars sister in law fucked
kasey kei jewelz blu oral cream pie compulation lesbians w big tits mom and daugher lesbian porn, big nude beach tits tana mangeau only fans niykee heaton sex tape gay prison porn rape, lesbianas hasiendo el amor escort in fort myers make love not porn jenna lynn meowri onlyfans