By Muchaneta Chimuka
COMMUNITY leaders play a pivotal role in fighting covid-19, through imparting information as well as offering support services to ensure their well-being.

Zimpapers Online Magazine reporter, Muchaneta Chimuka speaks to one of the Champions, Alice Kuvheya the Director of Chitungwiza Residents Trust on the projects and initiatives that they are doing for the locals during this covid-19 pandemic period.

“During the inception of the first phase of lockdown we took the ministry of local government, health, finance and the Chitungwiza Municipality to the High Court demanding for clean and portable water in our community since it’s a big problem year after year yet no action is not taken. We got an order that compels us to get clean, safe and portable water 24/7. After we got the order, the distribution patterns of water improved and some non-governmental organisations started to bring  water to  our residents for free,” she said.

She said water is very crucial especially in fighting covid-19 and cholera yet women and children are found queuing for eat day and night risking their lives.

“Despite the improved water distribution patterns in the locality, access to water remains a big challenge in Chitungwiza sine some residents are housed in unserviced land which does not have water at all hence they used to rely on wells which have since dried sometime in April.  Our residents are found crowded at various boreholes which were drilled by Unicef and other development partners in 2008 but with the growing population they are not enough. I can see a growing number of covid-19 infections erupting in our area if the water crisis issue is not addressed in time. People especially the school going age children are spending most of their day at the boreholes. We need water for all sanitation services, to wash our hands to prevent covid-19 , to clean household utensil hence without water we are at risk in as far as covid-19 is concerned,” she lamented.

Kuvheya said the other issue which is troubling her community is about vending space since illegal vendors are sprouting everywhere.

“At the various vending sites, there are no toilets, water facilities and people will be exchanging money and food during the process of selling which is a big problem because chances of contracting the virus are high. I also took the Ministry of Local Government, Chitungwiza municipality to court to stop the nicodemus demolitions of vending stalls during the lockdown and we got the order to stop them. Right now we are working on modalities of securing better vending places for our vendor with better sanitation facilities.  With more than 80 percent of our population who are in the informal sector I pray that the Government support them at any costs to avoid the spread of disease such as cholera and covid-19,” she said.

She said, they also supported the health sector when they took the same team to court.

“Our nurses went on strike and we took Chitungwiza Municipality, ministry of health and local government to court demanding better salaries and we won the case. Health workers are very crucial in our lives hence if their grievance are addressed it is for the benefit of the who country. When we get ill, we need nurses and doctors to treat us. With the escalating of prices of goods and services in the country we saw that the honours if in the duty bear’s hands to address the needs and wants of the society and we all benefit socially and economically,” she said.

Kuvheya has also launched covid19 helping hand initiative and they are looking for donations to feed more than  10 000 residents who are struggling especially during this lockdown period.

“Every weekend we give food hampers, mealie-meal, cooking oil and free porridge to some vulnerable members of the community but the assistance is not enough because due to the growing unemployment rate due to covid-19 even some people who are able-  boded  are coming to ask looking for food hence we are appealing for donations of any kind such that we can feed our people,” she added.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust has more than 46 000 members and its major role is to advocate for service delivery and rights for its citizens.