Last time we posted an impact report, we highlighted all the amazing work made possible in Kenya by supporters like you. This week is the last in our 2016 impact highlight series. We’re excited to have our last post about all the incredible work in Zambia made possible by generous people like you! For more great stories, you can read our full Report to Donors 2016.
As in our Kenyan projects, we’re also implementing the full SAFE strategy in our work in Zambia, with 2016 seeing great progress in these programs. We successfully drilled 22 boreholes in Sinazongwe, bringing our total number of boreholes in the district to 96. These boreholes serve as many as 48,000 people, or 40 percent of the district population. It’s amazing what one borehole can do!
In 2016, we concentrated our efforts in Mweenda, the largest ward in Sinazongwe district. Our goal is to declare Mweenda trachoma blindness-free by the end of 2017!
To establish each borehole program, we partnered with the Ministry of Health and local Water Affairs Department; identified a viable location; drilled the borehole; analyzed the water quality; monitored and evaluated the program; trained the village water committee; and educated the community on sanitation, eye health and general health.
We also trained and equipped 30 local villagers as pump minders, who repaired 15 dysfunctional boreholes originally drilled by other international NGOs. The pump minders now have the knowledge to maintain the boreholes in their communities, which will ensure our trachoma programs are sustainable.
In partnership with the Ministry of Health, we conducted our third Mass Drug Administration of antibiotics to treat and prevent the spread of trachoma infection. Distribution coverage of the antibiotic was 95 percent, and we reached many small islands in Lake Kariba, where children and adults received antibiotics for the first time.
Not only has implementation of the SAFE strategy helped prevent blindness, but it has also provided other important benefits. Improved sanitation has reduced other serious illnesses such as malaria, diarrheal diseases, upper respiratory infections and skin diseases.
By preventing the chronic recurrence of trachoma in children, and by eliminating the need for children to travel long distances to fetch household water before going to school, we’ve contributed to an increase in school attendance for both girls and boys. The presence of water close by has led to the construction of schools, encouraging teachers to accept postings at these schools!
Established water points have also reduced the number of human-animal conflicts. With a safe water source nearby, people are no longer at risk of crocodiles or other animal predators that may be lurking in rivers or lakes.
And finally, a reliable water source has given communities the ability to irrigate crops, grow vegetable gardens and raise healthier livestock, thus improving nutrition and providing a means to earn an income.
Not only are you helping restore sight, you’re helping improve quality of life for thousands!
We’re so grateful for everything people like you are making possible. Together we have changed millions of lives, and together we can change millions more! Please help us continue with our fight against avoidable blindness, and consider making a gift through our Gift Guide. No gift is too small! Together we can eliminate avoidable blindness – For All the World to See!