We know the coronavirus crisis spreads throughout the world, it is increasingly clear that people in Muleba, Tanzania with the least access to clean water will feel the most dramatic effects.
Action for Ngono Basin Reforestation (ACT-NGONO) in Muleba, Tanzania is among our newest partners at Bread and Water for Africa® and this year together we are embarking on a project to rehabilitate 20 non-functioning wells that long ago reached the end of their lifespan due to a lack of maintenance and repair.
“The scope of work involves the refurbishment of existing hand pumps including replacement of all the hand pump parts and implementation of water sustainability strategies by training pump technicians,” explained ACT-NGONO Executive Director Richard Bataringaya.
Richard told us that right now it’s the rainy season in Tanzania “and a number of people are attending to their gardens,” but he is hopeful that with their help of the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® we will be able to help so ACT-NGONO can start work in June on the 20 well projects.
Most of the villages in Muleba District, including Kishoju, Rwamilinga, Minziro and others are “water-stressed with the ratio of the number of working wells to populations served is quite low.”
Each of the 20 wells will serve residents within a reasonable distance – about one-half mile, compared to the several miles they must currently walk to fetch water from unsafe sites – and will have the capacity to ensure ready access to about five gallons per person, per day.
The selection of villages and wells is being done in collaboration with district government authorities from the rural water supply and sanitation department as well as health management teams.
“This involves visits to the villages to identify the communities within the project area which have the greatest need,” said Richard. “The criteria for assessments include ‘hard-to-service’ communities, current water sources available, population size, year-round access to safe water, and the status of ground water availability.
“We are looking for villages where there’s a great need for life-saving hygiene and sanitation practices, where people drink surface water, and where there is a prevalence of waterborne illnesses.”
In addition, there will be numerous other benefits to the villages served, says Richard.
“Many households which are spending money and time to transport water from far villages will be relieved of this burden. The extra time will be invested in agriculture for increased food security. The number of households that need to spend significant sums of money due to illnesses related to poor hygiene and sanitation will reduce.
“This will save more money and enable them to concentrate on developing their homes and communities
In addition, with hygiene and sanitation facilities closer to home, sanitation and proper hygiene practices to be introduced by health and hygiene trainers, there will be increased knowledge and behavioral change is expected which will result in more frequent handwashing and safe food handling.
And the educational impact for thousands of young girls will be immense as Richard notes, “Improved water sources give young girls a chance to attend school and receive a long term, consistent education.”
To prevent these wells from falling into disrepair again in the future, “It is crucial that community ownership is established for the sustainability of the refurbished wells. The sustainability of the wells will largely depend on the beneficiary community.”
To that end, local villagers who have accepted the responsibility will be trained in the maintenance and repair of the wells, and community members will agree to providing a small stipend – whatever they can afford, perhaps even a goat or a hen – for maintenance costs.
“The fees will create a sense of ownership by all in the community at large, and make it sustainable,” he says.
Richard projects that with the help of the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® by the end of the year (if not much sooner) that nearly 30,000 children, parents and elders will no longer have to risk their health, and even their very life, every time they take a drink of water from an unsafe source.
Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, every single day there are millions of Africans who have no choice but to fetch untreated water from contaminated sources for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing.
But thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, for more 20 years we have been able to dig wells in countries including Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Cameroon and construct water lines from safe sources in Kenya and Uganda.
Currently, we are working with our partner in Uganda to protect springs from human and animal contamination ensuring that people in the surrounding villages have access to clean water, and we have just embarked on a project with our new partner in Tanzania to repair wells that were dug 20 years ago and at present are non-functional.
Today, March 22, is the United Nations’ World Water Day which “is about what water means to people, its true value and how we can better protect this vital resource.
“The theme of World Water Day 2021 is valuing water,” states the UN. “The value of water is about much more than its price — water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics, and the integrity of our natural environment.”
At Bread and Water for Africa®, for decades we have been working to provide access to clean water for tens of thousands in sub-Saharan Africa — for many for the first time in their lives — ensuring that they no longer must risk illness, and even death, every time they take a drink.
And to all those who have helped make it possible, we dedicate World Water Day 2021 to them.
Action for Ngono Basin Reforestation (ACT–NGONO) operates in the Muleba District in Tanzania with the goal of refurbishing non-functional water wells in the district this year.
ACT–NGONO learned of Bread and Water for Africa® online and approached us about the possibility of supporting this mission and thanks to our supporters, this month we are initiating a pilot program to refurbish five hand dug and two deep water wells.
ACT–NGONO executive director Richard Bataringayaexplained in his request for funding assistance that the wells had been dug more than 20 years ago by an international aid group but over the years they fell in disrepair due to a lack of maintenance and parts.
“A serious problem exists in the rural villages of the MulebaDistrict where residents lack access to clean, safe drinking water and live in an unhygienic environment resulting in the deaths of children from common illnesses and infections that are attributable to drinking contaminated water,” Richard told us.
“In most cases, the repair requires a complete overhaul of the hand pump system,” he said. “This cost is way too high for the communities to fund.”
As is the case of all our water projects, we require that the community be involved and trained in the maintenance in the wells to ensure they have a long operational life.
Richard noted that to ensure the sustainability of the project and maintenance of the hand pumps, its water management committee will oversee the training of local villagers.
In addition, the residents of the communities will agree to pay a minimal amount per household into a fund “based on what is acceptable and affordable” to them to make sure there will be the money available for the necessary maintenance and repairs in the years to come.
“The fees will create a sense of ownership by all in the community at large, and make it sustainable,” says Richard.
In addition to the hand pumps, the projects including protection of the water sources, fencing around the wells, and planting of indigenous trees around the watershed catchments.
Each well will serve residents within a reasonable distance — about one-half mile and have the capacity to ensure the consumption of about five gallons per person, per day.
The need is great in the district as Richard pointed out that only about half of its residents have access to clean water.
Sadly, says Richard, “Since there were no alternatives, the only option for them has been to drink unsafe water.”
But with the help of the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® one day soon that untenable situation will be changing for thousands.
For more than two decades, we at Bread and Water for Africa® have remained committed to providing clean, safe drinking water for tens of thousands of children, parents and elders in sub-Saharan Africa.
Over the years, we have dug wells in countries including Cameroon, Zambia, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone and protected safe water spring sites from human and animal contamination in Uganda.
Waterborne illnesses such as cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery, to name just a few, as well as bacterial and parasitic infections are among the most common causes of serious illness, and even death, and tragically all of this sickness and fatalities can be easily preventable.
In addition to the significant health concerns, children — practically all young girls who should be in school — are instead spending their childhood and youth walking back and forth long distances to fetch water for their families from often contaminated sources.
At Bread and Water for Africa® we work with local leaders of rural villages where clean water is a precious commodity to dig wells, frequently on the grounds of schools and clinics which serve not only the students and patients and healthcare staff, but also the greater community as whole.
Water scarcity affects one in three people in sub-Saharan Africa through either unclean water, or through terrible droughts which cause deaths some dehydration.
And today, with the COVID-19 pandemic making inroads into the countries where we work, clean water — always a necessity of life — is more critical than ever.
For the thousands who benefit from these safe water sources their lives have been transformed and no longer do they live in fear of illness or death each time they take a drink.
Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic had been making inroads into sub-Saharan African countries such as Uganda, Bread and Water for Africa® agreed to support construction of 15 of our partner there, Bega Kwa Bega’s (BkB), water protection projects.
The projects were expected to ensure safe, clean water for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing for 3,000 Ugandans from 15 surrounding villages at the cost of about $1,000 each by constructing concrete barriers at spring sites to prevent contamination by humans and livestock.
In his request for funding, BkB program manager Ssagala David explained that the water protection project is necessary to protect the health of the residents of the villages through increased sanitation and hygiene made possible through access to uncontaminated water.
“The available community water sources are not safe, not clean, and not enough for the villages,” he told us. “Water is the most pressing need in these communities and is their first request.”
While due to the pandemic the project had to be put on hold this summer, we are pleased to report that now the projects have resumed with the most recent completed one being in the village of Kyangoma in central Uganda.
“The spring provides water for more than 55 houses, a primary school with 310 children, two health centers, and a church,” said BkB administrator Mary Musubika, adding that the water is also created a source of income for members of the community who use it for molding bricks.
“Before protection, it was an open water source shared by both humans and animals such as cows and goats,” she said. “It had been contaminated with the refuse from the runoff rainwater, dirt from the clothes washed near the spring and children could bathe in the water.
“The community members are so grateful now that they have access to a free, clean, safe, and reliable water source which minimizes waterborne illnesses, hence improving hygiene and sanitation.”
We at Bread and Water for Africa® are very grateful for your continued support.
Thank You! Asante Sana!
The city of Harbu in rural Ethiopia is home to nearly 190,000 residents who survive by growing what they can — such as rice beans, peas and lentils — on their half hectare (about 1.2 acres) tract of land. Many also raise livestock including cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses and mules.
Some 100,000 of these residents in the area rely on the Harbu Clinic, established by the Ethiopian government in 2001, each year for all their healthcare needs, which includes treatment for many easily preventable waterborne diseases.
The clinic itself lacks the basic and essential infrastructure to treat its patients — and that includes access to safe, clean water in the arid and drought-prone region of the country.
“The limited availability of a clean water supply is a major problem facing the clinic,” we were informed by the clinic administrator.
“Currently, the clinic is supplied water from the municipal water supply system. This water source does not provide reliable water to the clinic staff and patients.”
The quality of the water is also a major concern with most samples tested showed contamination due to intermittent operation and inadequate protection of the source of the water.
“Given the present COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of access to water and hygiene puts the clinic and the larger community at risk if the deadly coronavirus reaches the community,” he said.
This month, Bread and Water for Africa® is undertaking a campaign to raise the $11,000 necessary to construct a well to serve the clinic and members of the community in its immediate vicinity. Our goal is to improve the severe shortage of clean water while also minimizing the risk of the spreading of the deadly virus.
Already, we have been working with the clinic administrator and a contractor who is able to drill a 114-foot-deep well on the clinic grounds. It is estimated to produce nearly a gallon per second, which would be more than sufficient to meet the clinic’s and the community’s needs.
Once the well is completed it will be transferred to the clinic administration to ensure its safety, sustainability and maintenance including periodic servicing of the pumping system and the undertaking of any repairs that may be necessary.
At Bread and Water for Africa® we have seen firsthand many times how much a well for a community improves not just the quality of the water for residents, but their overall quality of life, and we are counting on our supporters to enable us to achieve our goal of a well for Harbu this summer.