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Concern Tanzania wins first prize at Maji Week

On Monday 22 March, Concern Worldwide Tanzania won first prize at Maji Week in the category of “Mobilisation, education and training.”

Maji week has been run by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation since 1988 and is linked to the UN International World Water Day. The main objective is to create awareness around planning and participation in environmental sanitation and water supply programmes. 

Motivation

The Concern Tanzania team demonstrated simple, effective methods of supplying clean and safe water and sanitation, hygiene promotion, environmental health awareness and natural vector control techniques. Jaka Magoma, Water and Environmental Health Manager at Concern Tanzania explained:

Maji Week is a great opportunity to educate the public on appropriate techniques in tackling health issues...We don’t participate to win; we use it as an opportunity to train the public. But we are delighted to receive the recognition, and winning motivates us to work harder.

Experience

Concern has been working in the water sector in Tanzania since 1978. This current focus is on the Kagera Region. There, a team of water engineers and health experts ensure provision of safe water and environmental health to 220,000 people directly and indirectly.

Many of the projects are much-needed simple water points in remote villages, but the team is also experienced in larger-scale projects. In 2009, Concern Tanzania completed a system that pumps water 5km in distance and 80m in height to reach the citizens in Nyakanazi. Jaka told us why the project was needed:

Water was located up to 17km from the centre and during the rainy season there were many cases of diarrhoea...People had skin infections and were generally in very poor health.

Participation

Working with local partner organisations Concern requires full participation from the community to source materials, provide labour and contribute financially. 

Seventeen “water user groups” manage Nyakanazi. Each group has six members, three of which are female. Concern emphasises that at least 30% leadership of positions should be held by women. Jaka explained how this project benefited the community:

There is a visible difference in the town as people are now coming to open their businesses. There are many positive development indicators such as a high cash flow, social economic activity...The system is providing around 32 litres [of water] a day per person...the health and livelihoods of the people are improving.

Pictured above

From left to right: Sylvester Kajura (DELIRA), Jaka Magoma (Concern), Frank Mng’ong’o (Concern), Gabriel Mkungu (Concern), Eustackius Sabas (Concern) and Lusuganya Magege (DELIRA).