Lusaka Project update – Feb 2020

February 3rd, 2020

Thanks to your support, the first few months of our new UK Aid Match programme in George Compound have started with a flourish.

George Compound is an overcrowded, informal settlement in Zambia’s capital city Lusaka. Conditions are basic. The water supply is unreliable and with no drainage or sewerage system, thousands of families are at high risk of cholera.

This project will help people living in George access the tools and training they need to protect themselves from disease, move away from poverty, improving water quality and waste collection in their community, helping make life safer and easier for everyone.

We plan to reach 46,898 people with this life-changing 26-month project.

What have we achieved?

We launched the project with roadshows at three local marketplaces, drawing in crowds of around 1600 people of all ages. Alongside, music, dancing and competitions, there was also a more serious message about the importance of good hygiene for locals to take away.

In these first few months of the project we have also been collecting data to measure the changes. This is what we’ve found at the start:

  • Only 65% of households have any sort of hand washing device
  • 40% of households don’t have a toilet
  • 1 school with over 3500 pupils has no hand washing facilities due to water shortages
  • 61% of households use water which has not been treated by boiling or using chlorine

To reach the thousands of people living in George, we work with local community health workers who volunteer their time to go door-to-door with messages about water treatment and storage, the importance of hand washing and the links between poor sanitation and poor health.

These volunteers are local and know the reality on the ground and what needs to be done.

Many diseases including eye and skin infections and diarrhoea are preventable if you have the knowledge and the volunteers will make at least 4 visits during the project to over 7000 households to ensure everyone knows how to protect themselves from disease.

“I want the community to learn so we can live better. It’s our community, we need to change.”

Violet, community volunteer and local resident for 20 years

As well as improving health for families at home and for children at school, this project will support the development of new community based businesses. Our local partners will identify, support and train two enterprises with practical and business skill and supply starter equipment so they can provide pit latrine emptying and safe waste processing – a desperately needed service in George. The teams will be made up of local people who have some previous experience in sanitation work or have expressed an interest in the training.

It will create new reliable income opportunities for local people and by emptying full pit latrines, ensures better sanitation in George, improving health for everyone.

A local pit latrine emptying team who will be training and mentoring new colleagues from within George. They all make a living to support their families and are proud of their work.

There’s still a long way to go, but so far visits to 4051 households have been made, reaching 17,155 people.

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This project has been made possible thanks to funding from the UK government.