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Dam Rehabilitation in Buhera

"Participatory Assessment of Disaster Risk (PADR) training helped our community to unite and consequently we are working together to rehabilitate our dam" - these are the remarks of village head Garamwera. The Gwebo community in Buhera had a dam that was established in the 1990s through a partnership with an International partner but over the years the dam walls developed cracks which has resulted in massive leakage of water away from the dam. More so, due to stream bank cultivation (gardens were less than 30 m away from the dam) the dam has become heavily silted. The siltation greatly reduced the dam surface area as well as it water holding capacity.

Pastor Jongwe a local PADR facilitator indicated that “Initially the dam used to benefit the surrounding four villages but as the water resource began to dwindle due to siltation conflicts began to emerge and the village closest to the dam ended up having a monopoly of the dam”. Furthermore, it was gathered that a planned community garden around the dam area had been shelved as the dam did not hold suffice water to sustain the horticulture project that the community intended to engage in.

The PADR intervention facilitated the community to identify resources that they are endowed with that can be used to minimise their vulnerability to the drought hazard. It has to be noted that the community were awakened when they realised that they have capacity to mitigate against hazards like drought which are termed “natural”” giving the villagers the impression that there is little that the community can do to mitigate against such hazards apart from receiving aid. “We identified that the dam is a key community resource that can help us improve our livelihoods and mitigate against drought” mentioned Pastor Jongwe. From the PADR training the community crafted a disaster reduction action plan and the rehabilitation of the dam was one of the priority areas

The community members from Zhande, Machakaire, Garamwera and Malombe villages mobilised stones, wheel barrows and shovels to engage in the dam scooping exercise and they engaged in the exercise for close to 4 months before the rainy season began. Evans Chipfumbu a PADR facilitator reported that the community has managed to rehabilitate the area where there was a leak and are now able to ensure that the water remains in the dam. Village Head Garamwera indicated that “using our wheel barrows we have so far managed to scoop almost half of the dam and we will commence the work after the rainy season. We have also begun to move individual gardens so that they are at least 70 metres away from the dam”. Currently, the community is engaged in rehabilitating the road that leads to the dam as it had been filled by ditches.

The community is so positive about the rehabilitation of the dam and they have planned that as soon as the rainy season is over they will start the community garden which will benefit a group of 50 youths from the community. The proceeds will be used to enhance the member’s income as well as contribute toward building the Zunde raMambo fund which is a social security measure. More so, the community wants to utilise the water from the dam to supply the local Garamwera clinic and the local dip tank. “The improved water holding capacity will ensure that our livestock will not be emaciated as they were during the 205-2016 season due to the drought” remarked an elderly member of the community.

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