Water is Life - getting access to clean and safe water in rural Tanzania

Her feet and body aches as she walks back home, carrying a heavy bucket of water for her family. After finishing school she saw the pot was empty at home, so set off on the 4 kilometre walk to the nearest stream. There was a long queue that she had to wait in for 2 hours before collecting her water and setting off back home again. She should be in evening classes at school to help with her education, but like many girls, her education is put second to household duties like collecting water from afar. Consequently, like many girls in her class, she struggles with her education and falls behind.

Water is life. Approximately 71% of the earth is water, and our bodies are approximately 60% water. We simply cannot survive without this necessity of life, which makes it one of our most basic fundamental human rights to have access to clean and safe water in order for us to survive and thrive.

However, whilst many of us in the world may not even think about our water usage, there are millions who don’t even have access to clean and safe water to cook with, to wash themselves, or even to drink. The consumption of dirty water will lead to a high prevalence of diseases which contribute to poor health, loss of productivity and intensification of poverty. 

As climate change takes its toll on our earth, water supplies are becoming even more scarce in rural Tanzania. People may walk miles to collect their water from a stream that has dried up. With increasing temperatures, land drying up, and weather becoming more unpredictable, the water quality continues to deteriorate as it becomes scarcer. Furthermore, as water become more scarcer, food insecurity, hunger and poverty becomes more widespread as farmers struggle to grow enough crops to sell and eat.

Many parents fear giving their own children a drink of water due to the probability of them falling ill from water-borne diseases that contaminate their only water. Incidences of what should be preventable diseases such as diarrhoea remain high, responsible for too many deaths of young children.

But lack of access to clean and safe water goes beyond health. With the burden of collecting water usually falling upon women and girls, it also deepens the gender inequalities faced in rural communities. Instead of studying hard in and out of school alongside their male peers, girls will have to walk many miles a day to the nearest stream to collect water for the household. Instead of working hard to earn an income, and a platform alongside her male counterparts, women will also have to take hours out of her day to collect the families’ dirty water. We work hard to empower rural women and girls of Tanzania, and by getting communities this basic fundamental human right, we are also challenging the gender inequalities they face and empowering the women and girls of the communities we work in.

We have funded many pumps for communities now, reaching thousands of people. However, there are still many on the waiting list. Our local representative for Kigoma and his grassroots community non-profit, Benedicto Hosea of Mboni ya Vijana, works closely with us to install water pumps in communities. They have developed and perfected a technique that allows them to manually install reliable water pumps effectively at a low cost. 

Benedicto shares our passion for getting access to clean and safe water. “After going away for education, I had an idea that I should make Zeze better like other places,” said Benedicto. “I tried to find out how we can find water solutions in Zeze. This was a passion to make the lives here in Zeze improve, and every people feel we’re in a better place to live. And this was possible if we had clean and safe water.” With our partnership, we were able to expand this important work to other areas of rural Tanzania to reach more communities in need.

Just one water pump costs £1500 and can reach thousands of people in a community. Furthermore, as we are a volunteer-run non-profit, every pound that is donated to us goes directly to the people and the causes it is meant to. You can donate via the button below, or you can visit our shop and purchase a good gift where you will also receive an e-card!

If you would like to help take climate action and to help improve our land and groundwater, you can also purchase a Trees Good Gift from our shop!

It is bewildering that there are still people that have to live without something as simple as water in this day and age – something that is so fundamental to our survival. Getting access to clean and safe water is one of our priorities, and whether it’s through supporting and sharing our work online or donating, we would be truly grateful for your helping hand. 

And as for the young girl at the beginning of this article – she now has access to clean and safe water. Elidetha no longer has to walk that 4 kilometre walk, and is doing extremely well in school, having gone from 40th out of 129 pupils, to 6th!

Water for All