By Garikai Mafirakureva

ZIMBABWE’S second largest national park, Gonarezhou, has embarked on a rural electrification programme which has seen Phahlela Clinic in remote Malipati in Chiredzi being electrified at a cost of US$220 000.

“The park partnered with NetOne, one of the country’s largest mobile service providers in this project. We are, however, going to electrify a number of other premises until we reach Malipati shopping centre, which is about 25 kilometres from Phahlela,” Gonarezhou Conservation Partneship’s senior manager Eviaous Mpofu said.

“This is one of our corporate social responsibilities and our continued endeavour to take on communities around the park. The park will constantly engage with the Tshangani community.”
A nurse who spoke to Southern Eye, on condition of anonymity, said the clinic serves over 300 locals per month.

“This clinic carters for areas like Masukwe, Masiya, Mutombo and others. We are happy that we are going to get electricity because initially, we were using candles and solar lanterns before a certain donor installed solar panels, but it was not enough because it only managed to light up the post natal ward and the drug room,” the nurse said.

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“The electrification will make life easy for us, especially in our labour room, which carries three people at a time. We had no running water at this clinic, so after installation of electricity, we will be able to pump water into our tank. Electricity will also light up our treatment room.”

One of the villagers who frequents the facility, Irene Chauke, said as women who are assisted to give birth at the clinic, they were happy with the gesture because they can now be attended to at any time of day.

“I would like to thank all those who made this project a success because we are now going to access treatment any time of day, especially those who are still giving birth,” she said.
Gonarezhou Conservation Partnership is a joint venture between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society.