By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large
HARARE, Zimbabwe – Growing up in the rural area of Gutu, Zimbabwe, Faith Chivava discovered an unusual passion for water that she describes herself as a water angel.
Presently employed as the Mazowe Catchment Hydrologist at ZINWA, Chivava aged 29 is one of the few female hydrologists in the country.
“I am not in the water sector by default or just because I studied the subject and now have a job. I’ve always had a passion for water. I’m a water angel,” she said.
Chivava said that her love for water was so intense that she found herself engaged in several water projects at her rural home.
“I used to dig and prepare wells for drinking water because I did not want my family to fetch water from far away and from unsafe sources. I put all the knowledge I acquired at school to practical use,” she said`, adding that her mother nickname her “mucheri wematsime” or digger of wells.
Despite her passion for water, Chivava could not study appropriate subjects to further her interest because of serious limitations at her rural high school.
“I had no opportunity to do science subjects but I really wanted to achieve my goal to become a scientist in the field of water and environment,” she said.
In 2002, Chivava enrolled into Chaplin High School in Gweru for her Advanced Level Studies and she studied Geography, Mathematics and Management of Business.
“By that time I was now focused; my dream was clear and I was sure I was going to do something about water resources,” Chiva said.
As providence would have it, Chivavava found out that the Midlands State University (MSU) was offering a degree programme in land and water resources; she quickly jumped at the opportunity. Because she had background in the sciences, the authorities at MSU refused to enrol into the programmes of her choice.
“I remeebr crying in the office of the chairperson of the programme. I did manage to convince them I was going to work hard and pass, and they eventually enrolled me,” she said.
Between 2004 and 2008, Chivava studeid for a degree in land and water resources. Married with one child, Chivava said that though the field of water mnagement is still male dominated, she is making her mark through hard work, dedication and perseverance.
“Persistence is always proving that you can do your work without offending anyone. That’s my motto. At the end of the day, my male counterparts respect me because I’m capable of doing things despite that I’m a woman,” she said.
Chivava added that water is the future of every country under the sun and needed to be managed with ultimate care.
“I beleieve if water is not managed well today and if poor decisions are made it will have a negative impact on everything about the future,” she said.
She said that he job involves assessing water resources through collating data on river flows, ground water, dam levels, land and water use.
“I am responsible for analysing the data which is teh use for decision making and future planning,” she said.