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UM Missions in Zimbabwe Provide More Than the Gospel

United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe
Students Munashe Chidewu (left) and Nyasha Homba wash their hands at a faucet served by a solar powered well pump at the United Methodist Hanwa Mission in Macheke, Zimbabwe. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.

At a time when clean water is scarce in many parts of the world, The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe is keeping the precious liquid flowing at its three missions.

“Water is life and everyone needs it,” said the Rev. Alan Masimba Gurupira, administrative assistant to Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa. “Humans and all programs of agriculture are pinned on the availability of adequate water supply.”

He said September through November were the hottest months of the year, drying up water bodies. “The economic meltdown worsened the situation,” he said, noting that the country has long faced food insecurity due to drought.

The World Food Program reported in April that the number of people facing acute food insecurity could rise to 265 million in 2020 as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, nearly double the number in 2019. That number includes 7.7 million people in Zimbabwe, half of the country’s population.

Access to clean, safe water has been even more important during the global pandemic, when handwashing is key to stopping the spread of the virus.

Zimbabwe Volunteers in Mission and the Nyadire Connection have helped ease some of the water issues at United Methodist Hanwa, Dindi and Nyadire missions.

The availability of water at the missions enhances food security, said Gurupira, noting that the sale of farm produce allows the mission and community to be self-sustaining.

Charles Eric Moore Jr., a team leader for Zimbabwe Volunteers in Mission, said that this year, the group sourced funds to install a solar-powered well pump on two boreholes at Hanwa and one at Dindi.

Normally in Zimbabwe, boreholes are electric-powered, but that has become a challenge due to load sharing and high tariffs.

“Electricity has become much more expensive and even more unreliable,” Moore said. “The ability to continue to provide a sustainable water supply to the missions became a top priority for us.”

Moore said the solar-powered boreholes provide enough water for the missions and neighboring families, as well as Hanwa’s enhanced irrigation system and an emerging agricultural project.

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Kudzai Chingwe is a communicator for the Zimbabwe East Conference of the United Methodist Church.