Last year you supported our Washing Away Blindness Campaign, and we can’t thank you enough! This post is to tell you about how your donations are being put to work to bring clean water to Zambia!
Clean water is essential for general health, eye health included. Without readily-available clean water, people can’t wash or sanitize, causing the spread of diseases.
In Zambia, there are still thousands of children, women and men who are suffering from the blinding disease, trachoma.
Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. Caused by bacterial infection, it spreads easily through contact with eye discharge from infected people on hands, towels and clothing, and also through direct transmission by flies. Children are most susceptible to trachoma, and because of their role as primary caregivers, women are three times more likely than men to be blinded by the disease.
But there’s a solution! The SAFE strategy.
Thanks to your support, we’ll ramp up our efforts to implement the SAFE strategy to eliminate blinding trachoma in Zambia. SAFE stands for Surgery, Antibiotics, Face washing and hygiene education, and Environmental change.
Thanks to you, we’ll develop borehole programs in vulnerable communities in Zambia. Establishing each borehole program will include identifying a viable location; drilling the borehole; analyzing the water quality; training and equipping local villagers as pump minders; monitoring and evaluating the program; building the capacity of the village water committee; distributing antibiotics, and educating the community on eye health and general health.
By providing villages with fresh water, not only will you help improve sanitation and prevent the spread of trachoma and other disease, but you’ll also provide families with the means to grow crops and raise livestock. And by supporting our community outreach and eye health education programs, you’ll also help us identify those with eye problems and refer them for treatment.
In addition, the provision of fresh water assists in the development of education. Villages with fresh water attract teachers and, as children (especially girls) will no longer have to spend long hours walking to find water, they’ll be able to attend school. In the coming years, entire communities will be transformed, thanks to you!
What has our team in Zambia been up to so far this year?
Now that the rainy season has ended, we’re conducting needs assessments in Sinazongwe district and surrounding districts to identify communities at greatest risk of trachoma and to begin identifying viable drilling locations. We’re working with the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to determine the number of households and the total population that will benefit from the boreholes. Depending on the needs of the districts, we’ll select our target communities.
We’re also in discussions with the Department of Water Affairs to see if we can partner with them again. In the past, they’ve contributed to our borehole projects, allowing us to expand our work to additional communities.
We promote community buy-in right from the start. Once our target communities have been identified, we’ll engage with community members to ensure they take ownership of the project, and to collaboratively develop borehole programs based on the specific needs of each community.
With all our programs, our goal is to educate communities and empower them to take responsibility for their eye health needs. In doing so, we can create sustainable programs that communities will continue to benefit from, even after our formal partnership with them has ended. By investing in communities at the onset of the program, we can ensure that your generous gifts will be used in the best possible way!
Your support will help hundreds of thousands in Zambia, but there’s still more work to be done! Please help us continue the fight against avoidable blindness by giving a gift. Thank you for all your support — For All the World to See!