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News - Date: 15 May 2017
Written by: Ndivhuwo Musetha / Viewed: 616
A well-known local community builder, Ms Pfarelo Ramugondo, has been awarded the Order of Baobab – bronze by Pres Jacob Zuma.
Ramugondo was honoured for her 'exceptional contribution to the upliftment of African communities who were faced with oppression and social injustice.' Twenty-seven other people were also honoured during the National Orders Award Ceremony held at Sefako Makgatho presidential guest house in Pretoria at the end of last month.
The 42-year-old Ramugondo of Ngwenani Ya Ha-Mapholi started a project to clean local rivers and streams after they were turned into dumping areas. The rivers were the source of water for local communities. She formed a group of young men and women to clean rivers and streams, called the initiative Tshikofokofo Adopt a River Project with the aim to have drinkable water.
"I started this project on 3 August 2010 with the aim of protecting water resources and the surrounding environment. I did this to avoid health problems, as domestic water should be free from harmful pathogens, chemicals and foreign objects," said Ramugondo.
The project was triggered by the lack of water supply that communities faced because they were forced to use water from unprotected springs. Her objective was to conserve and protect water resources from pollution to ensure sustainable food security and human health in the surrounding areas of Ha-Makhuvha village.
She started with 100 people, 87 women and 13 men, mainly students from FET colleges. Many dropped out because of a lack of funds. However, they received support from the Department of Water and Sanitation, who trained them in waste management and firefighting. Vhembe District Municipality also helped them by collecting the garbage they collected from the river.
This project has also encouraged other communities to start a similar project in areas such as Dwerani, Tshirole, Matangari, Tshidzivhe, Sheshe, Makonde, Mukula, Malavuwe, Luvuvhu and others.
Ramugondo, who received three awards before, from national, provincial and local level, says she is concerned about people who continue polluting rivers and streams, because they think “that we are being paid for doing this job.”
Ms Pfarelo Ramugondo (centre), photographed with two of her co-workers, Mesdames Itani Mulaudzi and Eliza Masindi.
community, builders, ms pfarelo ramugondo, order of baobab, bronze, president jacob zuma