5277 km. away from Qatar, millions of people in Harare, Zimbabwe struggle to get a drop of clean, sanitized water. Being a semi-arid country reliant on rain, Zimbabwe experienced low annual rainfall and the lack of sanitized water has become a major obstacle.
1980-1999 Post- Independent Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s attempt to resolve its water issue began in 1980. Before 1980, the African Development Bank announced that the allocation of water was based on race. While early European settlers received plenty of clean water, the news wasn’t as beneficial to those living in communal areas with little access to drinkable water.
The government took the first step by inheriting a new water distribution policy which aimed to provide all areas of Zimbabwe with clean water. Several years after the program was implemented, The African Development Bank reported that Zimbabwe became well-known internationally “as a leader in innovation, policy reform, and service provision in the water sector.” Zimbabwe was reported to have provided 84% of its people with safe drinking water. The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program awarded the government for its actions for Water Supply and Sanitation Coverage.
The Abandoned Program & Beyond
Unfortunately, during the past decade, the policy’s progress was disrupted due to the country’s limited investments. Zimbabwe faced a downward spiral and the nation could no longer continue providing safe water to all of the inhabitants.
Fast-forward 12 years later to 2013:
The government of Zimbabwe acquired a loan of 144 million USD from the Chinese government in attempts to solve water crisis once more. The Human Rights watch noted that almost 50 Chinese engineers traveled to Harare,
Zimbabwe in hopes of improving the water infrastructure.
The Human Rights Watch Organization reported: “While the government has promoted the loan as the solution to Harare’s water crisis, its terms have not been made public. Critics have decried the loan as exemplifying the lack of transparency and corruption in water and sewage services.” With that being said, the people of Zimbabwe continue to wait for change; but is the loan being spent on the improvement of water?
The battle for water continues in order to provide all their citizens with clean water. Do the delegates of THIMUN 2014 have any resolutions to put forward?
By Heba El Zoheery
Photo By Aya Ibrahim