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Bringing clean water to rural Tanzania

As a city girl, it’s hard for me to imagine life without water coming from the tap. Many people, however, do not have this luxury. Earlier this month, I met a woman whose life has been changed thanks to Concern’s water programme in rural Tanzania.

I met Hadija at a water source that has been improved by Concern, our partners and the community.

Struggling to keep up

She lives in Biharamulo District, which is in Kagera Region close to Rwanda. The houses here are spread out and many essential services, including the water points, are far away. It’s a long way from the coast and major cities, it doesn’t rain much and it’s lagging behind in development. Many villagers live in extreme poverty.

Hadija is 32 and has been ill for two years with high blood pressure. She has six children to take care of and has struggled to manage her family and work.

Life has changed

She told me about how life in the village has changed since the water point was improved.

“The water was very dirty before; we drank it and we got diarrhoea.” Hadija was unable to walk to fetch clean water as it was a four-hour round trip from her house. Her children spent around seven hours a day collecting water. As a result, they performed badly at school and are currently two years behind other children their age.

The new water point has reduced the trip to just half an hour.

My children now have time for other activities. They attend tuition for two hours after school. They learn maths and English. Before, this was impossible.

Women and children benefit the most

Hadija faces problems most of us never have to experience. For women and children in rural areas, the impact of clean water is incredible. For Hadija’s children, it is life-changing. “I hope they can go on to secondary school,” she said, “and then who knows what else they can achieve.”

Our water programme

Concern and its partners continue to help people like Hadija by providing clean drinking water in northwest Tanzania. We also train community members to manage and maintain the water points. Villagers source materials for construction and help to build them. This gives them ownership, and we believe it means they will last over time.