KNOWLEDGE IS OUR COMMUNITY’S ASSET.
TGNP Mtandao has been advocating for provision of quality social services including water since 1997, mainly tracking availability in schools, health facilities, safety and security of women and girls due to the distance reaching water sources. TGNP timepieces the government commitment of National Water policy of 2002. Which promises availability of clean and safe water within 300 meters from households in urban areas and 400 meters in rural areas.
The policy also emphasizes on the availability of running water in public schools, dispensaries and health centers to facilitate provision of health services.
Looking at the water access situation in the country; 23 million people in Tanzania don’t have access to safe water, 44 million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation. Over 4,000 children die every year from diarrhoea due to unsafe water and poor sanitation in the country (According to Water Aid situational analysis report)
People with access to water include 72% of rural inhabitants (21.9 million), 89% inhabitants (405,095) in capital towns of regions, and 605 of inhabitants (115,760) living in capital towns of districts and small town (Lwenge, 2016; URT 2016 a)
Despite the efforts made by the government to ensure availability and affordability of clean and safe water, the gap in accessing safe and clean water between the rich and the poor and between the rural and urban areas continues to widen. The Integrated Labor Force Survey report 2014/2015 indicates that about five out of ten households (only 54.6 percent) in Tanzania Mainland have access to water within a distance of 0.4 km. (400m) and further than that 11.2 percent of households need to travel a distance of 2 km or above to the sources of drinking water This very recent report shows that Tanzania has a long way in achieving the SDGs target of ensuring the 100 percent accessibility of water by 2030.
The policy also recognizes the fact that in the rural areas women bear the burden of searching for water and guardians of the living environment. However, this pivotal role has seldom been reflected in institutional arrangements for the development and management of rural water supply and sanitation services. In order to improve gender participation in rural water supply which aligns with the gender equality goal in SDGs.
TGNP Mtandao has been engaging with community activists known through Gender Development Seminar Series (GDSS), in urban and rural areas in which citizens participate to raise issues relevant to social development from a gender perspective, coming out with action points and recommendation for communities to organize for collective voice and actions to solve the problems. Water is one of the most necessitated service to development being discussed in these sessions, in TGNP’s areas of operation in Mbeya Rural, Morogoro Rural, Tarime and Kishapu districts and in Dar es salaam, Ilala , Ubungo and Kinondoni districts.
In Kipunguni ward, Ilala district, Dar es salaam there was a critical water scarcity which resulted on women spending more than 4 hours a day fetching water from distant areas failing them to participate in income generating activities. Apart from the time lost, tragic incidences such as rape, enforcement to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to girls while searching for water and beatings from husbands due to time spent for fetching water.
In 2015, TGNP launched a campaign “Tua ndoo kichwani” (Bucket off the head) to reinvigorate efforts to demand for access to clean and safe water to women and girls, propelling GDSS and other community members to implement the campaign at their localities. The campaign was launched at the opportune time when the country was preparing for the general election 2015. Kipunguni GDSS members decided to localize the campaign in their ward. Kipunguni and other GDSS members strategically launched the campaign and invited the mayor of their Municipal, sharing with him the depraved situation affecting water access to women and girls.
The mayor positively responded by introducing a water project worth Tsh 890 million, which has completely solved the problem. That marked a positive outcome of the campaign and community activism towards social development.
Speaking to TGNP, Sulleiman Bishagazi a GDSS member and community activist, explained on how the community took the campaign serious and rushed to the immediate solution. “Kipunguni was a nightmare when it comes to water, our women and girls experienced torture just to get water but the campaign became a revolution turning point giving us courage to face the mayor and delivering the demands to him till we got victorious and now i believe knowledge is our community’s asset. We are now pushing for women participation in decision making on the water project especially their involvement inn up keeping and maintaining the project” he explained.
Currently, women access clean and safe water from project taps, getting enough time to participate in various economical activities such as gardening, engaging in savings groups, business in local markets in Kipunguni ward. Lucky enough, girls forced to FGM while fetching water have been rescued from such traps.
Funds allocated by the mayor contributed to building water infrastructure seen above.
Women accessing water close to their homes and getting time to participate in economic activities.