Water shortage remains critical in villages

Here,hyenas have a penchant for attacking women and children. At the water hole Paulina finds other women and their husbands waiting for the water to ooze out of the sand. It is not uncommon for people in rural Tanzania to walk many hours to fetch water that is not even considered safe to drink. In Tanzanian cities most people wake each morning and turn on a tap without giving it a thought.

The affluent in towns and cities eat at least two meals a day and know that they can access medical help if needed. In Tanzania, life expectancy is 51. The economy is 80 percent agricultural. Most of the land is arable but many people do not have enough to eat. Despite living under such hardships, Tanzanians are full of life and spirit. They have much to teach the rest of the world. Lack of clean water is a significant problem in Tanzania.

Collecting water can take up to five hours a day. Some rural women carry as much as 18 kilograms on their heads as they walk 10 kilometres or more each way, to and from the water source. The government and its development partners is providing access to clean water by building wells and boreholes.

To ensure wells are sustainable over many years, each village elects a community well management team and determines rules for the well. This is common practice especially in rural villages. A low fee is established so that funds are set aside to replace parts, maintain the well and ensure that everyone has access to safe drinking water. Adding community gardens near these wells provides opportunities for agricultural training and projects that can help diversify crops and lead to improved family nutrition.

This is mainly done through small-scale irrigation. There are numerous schemes that are tailored to heave the vulnerable out of poverty. In some villages, goat banks provide a unique opportunity for families to become self-supporting. A pair of young goats is provided for a family to raise and breed.

Training is provided on how to care for them and once kids are born, they are passed on to another family. The original family continues to breed their goats. Goats breed easily, are easy to care of and can provide milk and meat for families. I visited Chonde village in Dodoma Rural District a few months ago out of sheer curiosity. I wanted to see development projects in the village. What impressed me most was not the primary school that was being built largely on self-help basis but the crop bank (warehouse) for storage of farm produce.

Construction of crop banks is in line with the Warehouse Receipts Act of 2005. Like the primary school the crop bank had been built by villagers at Chonde. The Warehouse Receipts Bill 2005 appeared to be a controversial, unconstructive effort that ran into stiff opposition at a seminar for Members of Parliament in July of that year. Some legislators thought it would graduate into “a very bad law.” A crop bank?

What do you mean? The Bill had required farmers to shunt their produce into established warehouses (or crop banks) and return home with delivery receipts -- not money. The farmers would use these receipts as collateral to obtain monetary loans from
financial institutions. This was explained clearly in the Bill. But some MPs contended that there was no point in storing farmers’ produce in warehouses.

IN recent years, Tanzania has witnessed improvement ...


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