Kwite AMC Mobilizes Community to Improve Constructed Dam
Date: July 2018
Place: Ward 1, Mangwe
Located in Southwestern Zimbabwe, Ward 1 (Empandeni) in Mangwe district is generally dry. It receives about 300 mm of rain per year, which is used by community members for agricultural production, livestock watering, and household use. To improve access to water resources, the USAID-funded Amalima program constructs or rehabilitates dams through the Cash/Food for Assets (C/FFA) activity. Once Amalima finishes construction or rehabilitation, Amalima trains individuals selected by the community for to serve as the Asset Management Committee (AMC) responsible for managing and maintaining the constructed or rehabilitated asset. This committee is key to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the asset, even after the program has ended.
Amalima worked with four villages in Ward 1 (Empandeni East, Kwite, Mhlotshana, and Mkaya) to assess, plan, and construct Kwite Dam. The dam was constructed over two phases, which began in August 2016 and ended in August 2017. For phase 1, 200 workers (154 females, 46 males) focused on the dam’s super structure by constructing a 4.3-meter-high masonry wall, 550m in length at spillway level, and a seasonal stream. For phase 2, 151 workers (114 females, 37 males) constructed a silt trap, gabion basket, and some bolsters across water ways to reduce land degradation and dam siltation. The constructed dam is at least 20,000m3 large and contains enough water to remain at 90% capacity. The dam provides water to 558 households and at least 3,500 livestock (including donkeys, cattle, goats, and sheep). This reduces the burden on women who previously travelled up to 10 kilometers with their livestock to access water points. In times of drought, the surrounding community from Ward 1 and Ward 13 can access water from the dam for domestic use.
To support the sustainability of the dam, Amalima worked with the community to create a seven member (3 females, 4 males) AMC responsible for operating and maintaining the dam’s water system. The AMC was trained in sustainable environmental management, constitution development, fundraising, conflict resolution and maintenance of the dam. The AMC was also linked to relevant government ministries and departments including the Department of Agricultural, Technical, and Extension Services (AGRITEX), and the District Fund. The committee meets monthly, as reflected by their constitution, to discuss their operations and maintenance of the dam. Based on these meetings the committee will engage local leadership to mobilize community members and raise funds for additional construction and maintenance.
In 2018, the committee engaged local leadership to expand their conservation works. Following a look and learn visit facilitated by Amalima to another dam constructed by Amalima,Makhelwane dam, the committee was motivated to improve the watershed of their dam by curbing soil erosion around the dam. Using knowledge gained from the look and learn visit, the committee engaged local leadership to share their vision of protecting the dam from silt with the rest of the community. As a result, 126 community members (107 females, 19 males) came together to create barriers using stones and indigenous plants to slow the flow of water and reduce the amount of silt entering the dam. Nearby farmers located upstream from the dam were also instructed to dig contours in their dryland fields to reduce erosionThe community members were a mix of former C/FFA workers and new participants that worked twice a week, donating their time from 7 am – 9 am, until the conservation works were complete. As a result, 19 hectares within the dam’s catchment area was protected.
Moving forward, Kwite AMC plans to continue mobilizing resources to fence off the dam and provide maintenance as needed. The AMC also has plans to establish two productive activities – a fish farm for local consumption and an apiary to produce honey for sale. The AMC plans to continue working with local leadership and government stakeholders to ensure the dam is well protected and can be better utilized by the surrounding community.