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Mangweni Village PDF Print E-mail
Water For All - Stories from the field

After nearly a year of battling with water shortages, a rural clinic in the north east corner of Swaziland has received a new solar submersible water pump that will now provide over 20 000 litres of clean drinking water a day.

Situated just outside the village of Sihoye on the edge of the Komati River, the Mangweni Clinic takes care of the health needs up to 1 000 people a week from the surrounding villages.

"We sometimes get a water tank delivered to us from Mbabane – over a 100 kilometres away – but they do not always come regularly" explains Sithembile Mhlanga, one of the clinic’s nurses.

For years now the village has relied on a single electric pump that extracts water from the Komati river. The water is then pumped to over 250 households in the surrounding community, but since the pump system broke down, the clinic and the surrounding community have been stranded, leaving the people to collect water directly from the Komati River. The river is surrounded with sugar cane and cattle farmers and is not always safe to drink. In the past year, the clinic has treated more than 50 cases a week for stomach ailments resulting from contaminated water.

"We are so happy that we will be able to provide the level of hygiene needed to provide our services and properly care for our patients. Many of them use our water to take their medication and we have until now not had the time to either boil the water or check that our patients are boiling their water at home" says, Tisho Hadebe, the head nurse at Mangweni Clinic.

The installation of a solar pump for the clinic proved to be one of our most challenging installations. With the only working borehole with drinking quality water situated over 150 metres away from the clinic grounds, the Water For All team had to bring in the help of a local construction company to prepare a deep trench that would house the power cables and water pipes. "We were overwhelmed by the positive cooperation we received from the surrounding community to accommodate us" says Kristina Gubic of Water For All. "People came out of their homes to help navigate traffic with red t-shirts and brought picks and shovels to help back-fill the trench. This is a real success story in terms of establishing community ownership of the project."

While the installation went on, the dedicated team of nurses were holding a cholera briefing to help educate the community about a recent outbreak in the nearby Mpumalanga province. With the clean drinking water now available at Mangweni Clinic, one more community is safe from this deadly disease. With a massive 5 000 litre storage tank erected in the clinic, the community of Mangweni will have clean water even when the sun sets.