Africa University Graduate Helps Sudanese Refugees Gain Access to Clean Water
by David Webb
Imagine being unable to do an everyday task like brushing your teeth because either you had no water or the water would make you sick. Africa University graduate Manenji Mangundu is a project coordinator for humanitarian aid working with OXFAM Great Britain to change such situations.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Mangundu was stationed in Kerfi, a small town in Chad located along the Sudan border, where he has seen the ravages of Darfur, which resulted in disputes over clean water.
"My biggest achievement to date," Mangundu said, "has been helping over 200,000 people in Western Darfur gain access to potable water, latrines and medicine in the face of water shortages and water-related diseases." He added, "Africa University has added value to my work. The epidemiology module has helped me to understand…evidence-based intervention."
In addition to providing water to internally displaced persons, Mangundu was also instrumental in creating awareness on the prevention of diarrhoeal diseases, characteristic of large settlements.
Like many other Africa University students and graduates, Mangundu credits his mother for influencing his education. After initial studies, he joined CARE International, a starting point for his career in humanitarian work. Later, he enrolled in the master’s program in public health at Africa University.
The training gives him an edge in his biggest challenge: a vast lack of knowledge in basic hygiene. Mangundu said, "The majority has never used latrines in their villages. Few people understand the significance of sound solid-waste management."
Waste management is vital to clean water supplies, and Mangundu hopes this crucial resource will be an agent of vitality, not a cause of strife.
* David Webb is a freelance writer who lives and works in New York City