Zimbabwe’s constitutional right to clean water has been denied to many of its citizens, with privatization by some local authorities putting this precious utility even further out of reach of the poor. Noting the effects of water privatisation, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) has engaged local authorities to stop the introduction of prepaid water meters.

ZIMCODD’s access to water campaign began in 2007 when it resisted the takeover of water distribution by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority. By 2013 it had formed the Bulawayo and Harare Water Taskforces and developed a social and economic rights tracker focusing on the hugely inadequate water supply in big cities, and what civic leaders were (not) doing to tackle it. The scorecard rating was shared among different stakeholders.

ZIMCODD’s tracker has generated debate around access to water and sensitized media, while public marches have created dialogue on the installation of the prepaid water meters. In Bulawayo, this forced Bulawayo City Council to shelve moves towards water privatization in 2014, and ZIMCODD is working tirelessly to ensure that other municipalities follow suit, despite Harare and Gwanda having rolled out the first phase in some selected suburbs.

The organisation has also made documentaries on the water crisis in Harare and Bulawayo, held meetings with policy makers on the right to water in these cities, and produced research to back up its demands. It has gathered several petitions, produced publications, and mobilized citizens during the Annual World Water Day Commemoration – all with the goal of sharing information about the issue of water and sustainable development and encouraging a broad range of CSOs and grassroots movements to participate in a people-led movement for water rights and sustainable development.

“The initiative contains a series of complex advocacy strategies on demanding right to water, which are impressive.”
– Evaluator Satoko Kishimoto

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