potable water
As the largest country in East Africa, about one-third of the land in Tanzania is waterless. A little under 50 percent of Tanzania’s citizens do not have access to clean water, totaling around 21.6 million people.

Although there are three lakes that surround Tanzania, it is extremely difficult for individuals to find access to potable water if they do not live near one of these bodies of water.

While there have been attempts to address the situation, there has not been much success. In 1971, the Rural Supply Program was introduced in the hopes that the government would be able to provide free, clean water to the citizens of Tanzania. A lack of donors and technology have led to the low success rate of this project.

In 2002, Tanzania began major reforms in the water sector, and still insists that by 2025, it will have more comprehensive access to safe, clean water. Reforming the water sector has recently made the country a target for foreign donor support. Germany’s state aid agency is one donor that has been extremely involved in providing Tanzania’s water sector with aid.

Private sector donations are also coming from various types of companies. H&M, a Swedish retailer, has created a three-year program that will pair with Wateraid to “improve water provision and sanitation facilities in 36 schools in the rural Manyara district. As well as immediate assistance, H&M hopes the intervention will influence government thinking about water-related issues in schools.”

Wateraid is also working to solve the sewerage issues in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city. The initiative is a for-profit one that removes waste from latrine pits for a small charge in order to reduce disease and improve quality of life in the city.

As a country, Tanzania has become a guinea pig for “water stewardship approaches that involve the wider business community.” The Water Futures Partnership (WFP) has been instrumental in this endeavor.

Although many attempts have been made to rectify the water situation, public awareness still remains a pressing issue. People are accustomed to disposing their waste in the river and unfortunately still fail to recognize that they are not only contributing to the lack of potable water but are also facilitating the spread of water-borne diseases.

In order to make sure the program has a chance of success, there needs to be more open communication and collaboration between the organizations trying to improve access to potable water and the individuals in the populations they are trying to help.

– Jordyn Horowitz

Sources: The Water Project, allAfrica
Photo: Wikimedia