Save the Children, Coca-Cola launch life-changing projects in Matabeleland

Save the Children in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation yesterday handed over the two community projects in Matobo district to empower youths with life skills and improve access to clean water at Maphisa hospital.

The two projects under the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Tomorrow is Brighter skills training project were funded under a US$250 000 grant covering four districts, Matobo, Binga, Beitbridge and Kariba.

The skills training capacitated Beitbridge and Matobo youths with life skills to enable them to venture into income-generating businesses.

As a result, 3 800 youths were trained, 2 721 females and 1 079 males. In addition, this initiative provided 400 individuals with start-up kits to venture into small businesses, supporting 283 females and 117 males.

In Matobo, the project rehabilitated Maphisa Hospital’s water supply system.

Speaking during the handover of the projects to the communities, Save the Children Country Director in Zimbabwe, Heather Kerr said the projects will improve the quality of life for the communities.

“Previously patients had to go out to fetch water from the outside taps when they were sick with Covid by now they have water supply within the wards. So, these projects with the Coca-Cola foundation fell on previous WASH work we have done here in the hospital including the installation of the solar-powered water system which has helped to ensure the hospital always has reliable, safe and clean water,” said Kerr.

She said the skills project will also enable young women to support themselves and their families.

“As you heard they received money and a start-up kit to start income generation projects like dress-making projects which already seems to be quite successful, youths need livelihoods, livelihoods matter, people need to be able to support themselves and their families,” she said.

Coca-Cola Zimbabwe Country Manager, Archbold Ndlovu said the WASH programme will provide safe and sufficient water supply to health care staff, caregivers, patients and waiting mothers in five health facilities through the provision of solar piped water systems in high catchment rural area health facilities in Maphisa District Hospital, Siakobvu rural hospital and Msapakaruma rural health centre (Kariba), Masera rural health centre (Beitbridge) and Chinego rural health centre (Binga).

He said the project will play a part in alleviating the water challenges, especially during the difficult period when the country is fighting Covid-19 and Typhoid.

“Access to clean and safe water is critical in fighting water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid. These boreholes are powered by solar, a clean and self-renewable resource that can last for generations if properly taken care of by stakeholders,” said Ndlovu.

Ward 13 councillor Vincent Ndlovu said the skills projects have assisted many young people.

 “We have already seen the results from the children who are part of this project and I hope we are going to give them direction as they have been given the ammunition and we expect results, if you do well, Save the children and Coca-Cola are going to come back and give us more,” said Ndlovu.

The skills project, Well-wishers Chairlady, Atolia Moyo said they are grateful for the opportunity.

“After receiving the sewing machines, we were also given material up to 52 metres. In our community we noticed that there was a demand for church garments, we capitalised on this and by June we managed to raise R1 410,” said Moyo.

“Our business grew and we now had some people coming in demanding African attires, we also learnt how to sew school uniforms and within a month we could have 10 customers,” she said.

Moyo said the skills project is also assisting them to reduce issues of gender-based violence.

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