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Bikita RDC heeds community calls for schools and clinic construction

by Stephen Jakes
07 Dec 2023 at 08:24hrs | Views
Following many years of continuous engagement by Citizens Action Southern Africa Zimbabwe (CIASA) community structures in Bikita, a series of community scorecards on the state of education and health, 3As (Affordability, Availability, and Accessibility), Bikita Rural District Council (RDC) has headed the call and is planning to construct two schools and a clinic in Duma location in 2024.

CIASA noted that the progressive development came out at the local authority's full council meeting that was held on November 30, 2023 in which local authority endorsed the final proposed budget which now awaits the Minister of Local Government and Public Works' approval.

CIASA encouraged residents to take part and fill in scorecards that preceded the council's budget consultations with community members for 2022 and 2023.

From the scorecards, residents pointed out that Gwindingwi High School and Duma Primary Schools which are the only schools in the sprawling Nyika growth point had become oversubscribed by the ever growing population which continues to grow at 0.89% annually.

The teacher-student ratio had become so high at the available schools and the disproportionate distribution of learners compromised the quality of education as well as infringed on the right to basic education as stipulated in the section 75 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

In the aftermath of the full council meeting, the Citizens Action Southern Africa Zimbabwe (CIASA) Projects Director Archbold Madida who was in attendance applauded the development as a learner's victory and commented on the RDC's resolutions for being responsive to the motions raised by the citizens, and said the approving of such progressive projects demonstrates the importance of engagement and why community empowerment on advocacy skills remains the panacea to the effective and sustainable development of our local communities.

Madida added that education is one key sector that every RDC should prioritize and CIASA will continue to leverage on the successes recorded in Bikita and escalate such initiatives to other districts.

A baseline and end line survey done by CIASA between 2020 and 2023, revealed that the sole public health facility at the growth point had become incapacitated to support the growing population at Nyika growth point and its expanding Duma location, The local authority has taken the initiative to approve the construction of a clinic, which will help reduce child mortality, enhance access to treatment of opportunistic infections while increasing availability and uptake of SRHR services and products.

In the past several calls have been made for the construction of centers that are disability-inclusive and sensitive.

The RDC has unanimously recommended and adopted the construction of ramps and disability-sensitive ablution facilities.

On the other hand, CIASA has promised to deliver pro-bono basic disability skills training to health practitioners in the Bikita District to help improve access and availability of health facilities for persons with disabilities.

CIASA hopes the Minister of Local Government and Public Works will quickly approve the budget so that the construction of the two schools and the clinic will commence in 2024, as this will go a long way in making Zimbabwe meet its commitment to the 2015 Global Sustainable Development Goals.

In an interview with CIASA after the full council meeting, Bikita RDC ward 23 councilor Mark Mutengani was ecstatic about the projects, and he was optimistic this will provide the much-needed relief to the education and health pillars of Bikita RDC and he promised to lead the with integrity and be as transparent and accountable as possible.

"I will work around the clock to ensure that the projects that have been proposed in my ward will be implemented.We have encountered a rapid increase in population in the growth point and our schools and local clinic have become overwhelmed, we warmly welcome the full council resolutions", said Mutengani.

Duma location falls under Mutengani's jurisdiction and the local authority has turned villages surrounding the growth point into urban residential stands which has seen a rapid increase in population.

Source - Byo24News
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