London Irish firm does its bit to help in Zimbabwe

Tracey Taruvinga, Jackie Collins, Gabriella Prandini (Zimbabwe Country Director) and Lucy Antonio at Mbare in the Harare province

A London-Irish company in Harrow, north-west London, found a way to ensure its long-standing, regular contributions to the Irish development charity GOAL had a big impact.

Eddie Collins, the owner of specialist automotive parts supplier C-KO which he runs with his daughter Jackie, is a regular donor to GOAL.

Eddie and Jackie learned earlier this year that one of Jackie’s oldest friends, Gabbie, who had been working for the charity in Ethiopia for the past 20 years had been made the charity’s country director for Zimbabwe.

“We immediately asked that our donations go specifically to Gabbie and the projects for which she is responsible in Zimbabwe and they said ‘yes’,” said Jackie.

On behalf of her dad and herself, Jackie went out to visit her old friend and see if there was any more they might be able to do to help and was pleasantly surprised at how their contribution was making a difference to many people’s daily lives.

Jackie continued: “Last September In Harare they had an outbreak of cholera for the first time in ten years because a lot of infrastructure has not been updated or repaired so broken sewers have left the water table in a pretty sorry state.

“There’s a lot of homes in a high-density area, originally built for migrant workers as dormitories but now they are being used by entire extended families so you might have one to two families living in them with no running water – four hundred homes using one water pump.

Cholera is a long-lasting virus and can continue for a few days.

“So GOAL revived a plan from the last cholera outbreak a decade using local people it had trained for that one to work as chlorine monitors – the volunteer monitors are placed by two tanks on either side of the water pump and ensure every bucket gets a few drops of chlorine.

“A few drops of chlorine in each bucket is all it needs. This tiny intervention, which costs pennies, can have a huge effect.”

PANEL Zimbabwe suffered a major Cholera outbreak in 2008 which affected over 95,531 individuals and caused 4,282 deaths.

Due to the continued worsening economic situation in the country, water and sanitation infrastructures have continued to deteriorate, particularly in Harare’s high-density suburbs. Confirmation of 11 cases for cholera necessitated that the Zimbabwean government declare a state of emergency on 6 September 2018.

By last month, 7 December, there had been a total of 10,550 suspected cases and 59 deaths.

The rainy season is expected to make matters worse.

GOAL Zimbabwe is one of a number of working with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health to respond to the cholera outbreak in Harare.

Using small interventions and initiatives like the one described by Jackie Collins GOAL ZW has been able to ensure

  • 65,636 people received safe water
  • 86,419 people were provided with preventative and awareness message related to Cholera and hygiene
  • 214 volunteers were trained on in Cholera prevention and control
  • 326,111 liters of clean water were distributed

GOAL Zimbabwe primarily works with and through the Ministry of Health of Zimbabwe and volunteers to ensure sustainability and ensure that resilience is built amongst the community, should there by another outbreak.

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