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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Construction of footbridge in Shinja enhances access to essential facilities

Story by Tamuka Charakupa

THE Shinja community in Chimanimani West has welcomed the construction of a footbridge set to increase agricultural production and enhance access to schools and health facilities in the area.

For the people of Shinja who rely on smallholder farming, crossing the Nyanyadzi River to access their gardens had become a daily nightmare.

Children were also failing to cross the river to access schools during the rainfall season.

However, this is set to be a thing of the past after the construction of a safe and reliable footbridge which is critical for the community’s daily needs.

“This is one of the most important infrastructures for this community. We are now in the rainfall season and our river usually floods which makes it difficult to cross,” said a Shinja community member.

Another said, “We have about three small-scale irrigation facilities which rely on this footbridge to pass through to the fields and back to the market, so this facility has come at the right time.”

Traditional leader, Chief Raymond Saurombe said, “Some are wondering why we are celebrating this footbridge. We know the struggles that our kids go through when going to and back from school. The President is always telling us to build and develop our own country and this is exactly what has been done.”

Chimanimani Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer, Mr Nehemiah Deure spoke on the importance of the project.

“This is a huge relief to the Ward 9 Shinja community, given the challenges they faced daily particularly access to critical services. However, our appeal is for the rehabilitation of the Zimunda Bridge which is the main passage used by vehicles and carts,” he said.

Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Honourable Advocate Misheck Mugadza underscored the importance of the structure.

“We are grateful to our partner Practical Action for spearheading the construction of this footbridge. The footbridge will save lives, increase agricultural production, improve the pass rate of our children in schools and enhance health care access for pregnant mothers and children. There is no road network across the river here and more people will now access markets and other important services. Our call remains to our partners to emulate the gesture so that we put similar infrastructure on critical and unsafe river crossing points.”

Chimanimani district is usually on the receiving end of natural disasters due to mountainous terrains which often result in communities being cut off from schools, clinics, business centres, markets and other income-generating opportunities.

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