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.