By Derrick Sinjela and Fulman James Mukobeko in Lusaka, Zambia
In June 2017, the World Wide Fund for Nature in Zambia (WWF Zambia) mobilised a group of influential Zambians and electronic, print and new media to undertake a 63-kilometer walk to raise awareness of the ‘Sustainable Water Stewardship’ seeking better care and preservation of the water.
The Journey of Water campaign was unveiled on Wednesday, 10th May 2017 in Lusaka at a Southern Sun Ridgeway Hotel Breakfast launch graced by Water, Sanitation & Environmental Protection Minister, Lloyd Mulenga Kaziya and Water, Sanitation & Environmental Protection Ministry Permanent Secretary Bishop Dr. Edward Chomba.
“Water covers 70 per cent of our planet’s surface but only 3 per cent of all water on Earth is freshwater and furthermore, only a meager 1 per cent of this is accessible for human use. Despite its significance and scarcity, it is perhaps one of the most underappreciated resources,” Mr. Kayiya, who is Patriotic Front Matero Member of Parliament (MP) in Lusaka, told guests led by World Wide Fund for Nature Zambia Head of Communications and Marketing Eneya Botoman Phiri and Meanwhile Food Lovers Market Sales and Marketing Manager, Ms. Annie Nyirenda has applauded WWF and government for raising awareness on the need to conserve water.
Water, Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection Minister Lloyd Kaziya says government is working on cost reflective water tariffs that are appropriate in line with government’s pro-poor policies.
“The ministry is setting the price of water taking into considerations income of domestic and commercial consumers. Government is conducting work on preservation of water capturing rain water through the Water, Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection Ministry, stressing water conservation and construction of primary drainages. All Zambians must prudently utilize the priceless water commodity,” pleaded Kaziya.
“It is concerning that 4.8 million Zambians have no access to clean water, thus WWF is prompted to launch an online and offline campaign dubbed the Journey of Water, using the power of the media to raise public awareness and demand for sustainable management for water resources,” World Wide Fund for Nature Zambia Head of Communications and Marketing Eneya Botoman Phiri admonished.
The campaign is aimed at reconnecting people to the real source of water – nature as ‘commercial or domestic water does not come from a tap’.
The Kafue flats and the entire route water to Lusaka, through the Lower Kafue sub catchment, from Kafue Town attested to the resilience of Water Ambassadors, honoured with certificates by Bishop Dr. Chomba awarding them with Paddy Mukando as Master of Ceremonies .
The JoW campaign is premised on the fact that water wastage and lack of concern for the commodity are very critical even when 4.8 million Zambians were still without access to clean water.
From the launch to the actual walk, WWF Zambia will work with the media various local celebrities to raise awareness on water conservation.
Celebrated Zambian female boxing sensation Catherine Phiri, Maureen Lupo Lilanda and a couple of celebrities participated in the ‘Journey of Water’ campaign.
“I have really a learned a lot this evening, I now appreciate the importance of water and will spread the message about the importance to care for it,” pledged pugilist, Catherine Phiri, a former World Boxing Council (WBC) female Bantam Weight Champion.
Catherine is not the only star on board, Dancehall singer Petersen Zagaze, comedian Kabova, celebrated civil society activist William Chilufya, successful entrepreneurs Sipho Phiri and Mubita Nawa, legendary song bird Maureen Lupo Lilanda and popular Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation television talk show host Innocent Kalaluka aka Smooth IK were amongst the local stars that turned out to nod the campaign.
The ongoing Journey of Water campaign, which climaxed with an entertainment event at Arcades Shopping Mall in Lusaka, is focused on the Kafue River, Zambia s largest tributary to the Zambezi covering the Copperbelt, Central, Southern and Lusaka provinces.
Water, Sanitation & Environmental Protection Ministry Director of Planning, Tobias Musonda and World Wide Fund for Nature Zambia Country Manager, Mwape Sichilongo were present.
“Water is a basic foundation on which sustainable development must be hinged,” Water, Sanitation & Environmental Protection Ministry Permanent Secretary Bishop Dr. Edward Chomba prodded the entertainment event, alluding to the 2017-2021 Seventh (7th) National Development Plan (SNDP), recently launched by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu themed: ““Accelerating development efforts towards Vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind,”.
On his part, Development and National Planning Minister Lucky Mulusa is elated that the Seventh National Development Plan 2017- 2021, anchored on five pillars namely; ‘Economic diversification for job creation; Reduced poverty and vulnerability; Enhanced human development; Reduction in developmental inequalities; Creating a conducive governance environment in a diversified economy, is creating synergies between implementing institutions is based on provincial comparative advantages enhancing resource endowment.”