The Repairs Begin
It has been quite the year so far for PSA in 2018. We had changes in our board configuration in the spring that have created openings for new members. We conducted a few presentations at local churches in an effort to increase awareness of the organization and, more importantly, the needs of women and girls in Tanzania. After the success of our “Kilimanjaro Challenge” and “Walk 4 Water” campaigns in 2017 (championed by Stephen Dunne and James Leitner), we have been working on ways to carefully use those funds to benefit communities in Tanzania while ensuring we do not fall into the trap of becoming yet another non-profit organization with abandoned wells in the country. All over Tanzania there are wells that were built with good intentions that never established the proper infrastructure and commitment from the community to ensure long-term success. One of the most important components of our work is helping each community establish a water committee to manage each well like a public utility: collect very low user fees from each person using the well and the community then has a way to maintain the well and create a sense of ownership.
To ensure that we are cautious with our spending, we contacted an organization called Empowering Lives International based in California. This organization was recommended to us by members of our sister PSA board in Tanzania. Through ELI, we were introduced to a small, for-profit drilling company called “Mighty Men Drilling” that operates locally in Tanzania. Mighty Men have agreed to assess a list of wells that we are considering for repair. Two weeks ago, Mighty Men reported that two wells on our list in the Serengeti District are fit for repair and are expected to provide an ample water supply to the local communities. The communities chosen for this round are Kenyamonte and Nyamisingisi. In the coming weeks we hope to have additional wells in Rorya analyzed for possible repair, specifically within the communities of Chereche and Kiariko. I had the pleasure of visiting Chereche during my trip to Tanzania in 2017 and it was wonderful to meet the community leaders to discuss the challenges that they face with water access.
Pictured above are the two wells expected to be repaired in the Serengeti District. The stones are piles gathered by the local communities to prepare for the concrete slab; stones help to build up the slab for a lower cost. As you can see, the existing slabs are quite damaged and the pumps are in need of replacement. The concrete slabs create a stable base for the hand pumps and allow for each water user to fill their containers without creating a mud pit. Many wells are in these conditions after breaking down and going for years without repairs. These communities will form water committees with women in important roles, often including the role of chairperson, vice president, or treasurer, and the committees will hire security for the well and manage the individual account opened for the sole purpose of well management.
Look to the coming months for more updates on our repairs. Want to get involved? Email us at email@example.com.