Tembo Nickel aid water provision in villages

TANZANIA has made enormous strides in providing access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene services but with an ever-expanding population, so much more needs to be done to attain targets set by the United Nation’s target sustainable development goal number six of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

According to the World Bank report of February, 2023 only 61 per cent of households in Tanzania have access to basic water supply. The majority being those that dwell in urban areas.

Those in rural areas continue to have fewer resources to effect efficient water supply systems and are often grappling to poor management of what does exist. Venance Safari Njonjori is the chairperson of water consumers group in Bugarama Ward Ngara District in Kagera Region.

This group has adopted the name MADABO – Maji Daima Bombani (constant water supply in the taps) because their main objective is to ensure that there is a constant water supply for their members.

Secondly, they would like to see women not having to go more that 400 metres from their households in search of water.

This committee was formed in 2012 in Rwinyana village, after World Bank extended assistance to the village to help set up a water system.

The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA), which is responsible for the development and sustainable management of water supply and sanitation project, proposed that the whole ward be included under its operations, covering the three villages of Rwinyana, Bugarama and Mumiramira.

The committee ensures that its composition is inclusive and has representatives from all the sectors that are highly affected by the availability of water.

On the committee are representatives for primary schools, dispensaries and women. It comprises 11 members in total, of which only 2 are women.

“We would have liked more women representation, considering they are the ones mainly involved in sourcing water but in the education sector we have no female principals and in the health sector, no female doctors, which is the membership requirement. We are lucky however that our councilor is a lady, so we have a strong woman leader in our group” says Chairperson Njonjori.

Some members of the communities have direct access to water and are charged against consumption, whilst others use water stations. Water stations are placed in areas that service not less than 50 to 60 families. Each family is charged 1,000 shillings per month. The gravity fed stations are open 24 hours.

Transparency is enforced and ensured by keeping a registration book and receipts are issued to individual households and in addition a cumulative one on a monthly basis.

The money collected goes towards maintenance and repairs of the projects. There is regular check up on the pipes and repairs. Decisions on what repairs need to be carried out are made collectively and pass through the RUWASA manager for confirmation before money is withdrawn from the committee’s account.

For this year for water week commemorations in March, Tembo Nickel supported the committee to revive the Hembe water source, which was in dire need of rehabilitation. Hembe water source is one of the main sources that feed the majority of the Bugarama village. It was a neglected source with both people and animals utilising it.

“ The Hembe water source was providing very limited water flow of poor quality because it had not been maintained for years. We are pleased to have been able to assist with improvement of the catchment area by removing the accumulated silt and constructing a catchment wall. We provided an alternative source for livestock and replaced punctured lines. We also added water access points.” As a mining project we are extremely sensitive about water issues and before we begin our operations, we are conducting a number of waters studies and regularly monitor the water in our area of operation,” says Tembo Nickel Environmental Manager Tunzo Msuya.

Msuya stressed the importance of empowering communities in the project area through support for their initiatives, advocacy and training.

“We have assisted with rehabilitation of this important source but at the end of the day, it is up to the communities themselves to maintain and value what is theirs and what sustains their livelihoods,” adds Msuya.

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