Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Water shortage causes high divorce rates- GVH Ngongondo

By Elias Banda
Group Village Head Ngogondo of Machinga has bemoaned   the increase of divorce cases in her area due to water shortage. The GVH said there was a strong link between water scarcity and fragile marriages because when  women spend more time fetching water, there was growing suspicion among men that their wives were cheating on them and based on the balance of probabilities, men always found grounds for divorce.
GVH Ngongondo said her indaba (village court) was flooded with divorce cases that were usually blended with hostility and suspicion among couples. The GVH said the number of divorced women was on the increase, hampering development efforts as single women were struggling to cope with prevailing economic challenges.

In extreme situations, people drink from rivers
A woman stressing a point during radio recording

Lukia John from Kamtetela Village said she was beaten twice by her husband on suspicion that she cheated on her husband when she spent 8 hours looking for safe water.  The matter was resolved after it was referred to the GVH indaba.
GVH Ngongondo said her area has 35 villages but with only two boreholes, forcing women to travel long distances looking for water. The few functional boreholes were characterized by long queues with women fighting for spaces.  In extreme situations women were forced to draw from open and unprotected wells where water was shared with animals and sometimes they found dead animals in the water.
Women learning how to be self reliant
Pishen Nampesya said it was a shame that nearly 50 years after Malawi got independence, people  in his area where still drinking in rivers and open wells.
But recently, ADRA Malawi facilitated recording of radio program where people used the platform to advocate for the provision of water by the government. During the community dialogue session that was recorded, community members engaged the duty bearer from the Department of Water Development to respond to the water challenge.
The Water Development Officer in the area, Bhahati Ngwiri pledged to report the mater to higher authorities for the provision of water facilities. However, chiefs asked for his contact number and his house for constant communication in case he failed to honor the pledge.
The recorded materials would be aired for the ADRA Malawi sponsored Zatonse Radio Program on the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).  Zatonse Radio Program is supported by Denmark through the Action for Social Change Program to amplify community advocacy voices to influence positive opinion from duty bearers and service providers at national level.

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