Se_x in exchange for water: Mayhem in Chitungwiza as thugs wreak havoc

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Access to clean and safe water is a fundamental children’s right that when compromised will cause more harm to child development.

Born and raised in Chitungwiza by my grandparents, a dormitory town about 25km from the City Centre, water has surely become a very scarce and expensive commodity in my community. The problem has even become a source of income for some people, with a 20liter bucket going for $3-$5 bond notes depending with the source of water. (borehole or well water).

Admittedly basic commodities are becoming more expensive by the day but water problems are on the rise and access to it has caused more conflicts in the society. During the time of my final Ordinary Level examinations, l would wake up as early as 4 am to fetch water.

Most households with boreholes and wells would allow only two buckets per person. It wasn’t enough for my family so l had to fetch more water after my exams. My grandparents are old and are unable to fetch water. Tired as l was, l managed to finish all my exams.

The girl child is not spared in this social ill. Se_xual harassment is the order of the day, with grown men asking the little girls for se_xual favors in exchange for water. Some school girls have resorted to befriending these hooligans to get easy access to community borehole water.

The community boreholes are not enough, as such we have resorted to use unclean water from unprotected wells. Cases of children drowning in the wells are recorded.

As we commemorate the Global Action Month with the theme “promoting environmental child rights”, l urge the powers that be to take a closer look into this emergence issue.

“The Global Action Month is an opportunity for children and young people to act and speak out on issues affecting them. So it’s important for young people in our clubs to speak out on the issue of water shortages. I am glad you have already begun to do that.” said Mr. S Mandishona the Club Development Officer for Citizen Child.

Our lives as children are at risk. The environment is no longer friendly to us. Among other environmental issues affecting us, the aspect of water needs urgent attention. Buying water will never be sustainable.


Mike Gavara, 16 years, Zengeza High 1 Citizen Child Media Club

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