Last year, TPRF made a grant to WaterAid to support their long-term Community Managed Water Supply program in remote rural areas of Tanzania that lack basic safe water. Not only does this program target the neediest areas, but it is based on community participation, local skill development, and long-term sustainability.
For forty-three-year-old Zainabu Salum, the new access to clean water is changing her life and that of her fellow villagers in Tanzania. She explains, “Before, we used to have to ration water. We used to get lots of stomachaches. Now we have enough to wash our hands before dinner and after going to the toilet. My children have time to go to school and I have more time to farm. I take vegetables to town to sell. We are very happy.”
Zainabu lives in a rural village close to the town of Singida, in central Tanzania. The work of WaterAid has already had a transformational effect. Prior to WaterAid’s intervention, women and girls used to fetch water from “traditional wells” — muddy holes dug by women about a three-hour round trip from the village. The water they collected so laboriously was often contaminated by animal waste.
Through WaterAid, a borehole was constructed to supply three tap stands. The community paid about $37 towards the pump, which cost $967. The system is run by a community water committee, and users pay about 2 cents per bucket. The old and disabled are given rations. The money goes into a fund to pay for maintenance and for the pump attendants’ wages.
Living in one of the poorest countries in the world, 18.5 million of Tanzania’s people have no access to safe water and sanitation. Not surprisingly, over 21,000 children under age five die each year from diarrhea infections.
When clean water is made available to a village that has had none, life changes for everyone. Young girls, the usual water carriers, can go to school, better hygiene reduces disease, and more food can be grown. An essential need is met and appreciation abounds.
Photos courtesy of WaterAid, Marco Betti and Alex Blake.