Since 2012, we have been working in two villages located near the capital city of Dodoma in central Tanzania: Mapinduzi and Mkutani. This semi-arid region, despite two “rainy seasons” per year, is the driest part of the country. The income of the people living in these rural areas is dependent upon the success of their crops. For the last few years, there have been drought conditions and hence very little income realized. In addition, neither village of 2500 persons is connected to electricity, water or paved roads. EWB Boston has made significant progress in both villages where we coordinate with the village leaders, water committees and local government to understand how we can best help them.
In Mapinduzi, multiple breaks in the system have been repaired and the old mechanical pump replaced with a new submersible electrical pump and generator. Cost per liter of water is of utmost concern and in October 2017 we installed a solar powered borehole pump to eliminate the cost of fuel and the burden of transporting fuel down dirt roads from the capital. Although the initial cost of solar equipment is cost is relatively high, maintenance cost will also be drastically reduced. A rainwater catchment system for the Mapinduzi dispensary was also designed by EWB and built with labor and materials donated by the villagers.
In Mkutani this Spring, EWB Boston had a major achievement with the drilling of a successful borehole. The water was potable, bacteria-free, and plentiful! Tears of relief and joy were shed by all. This was the result of two years of planning, review of hydro-geological maps, coordination with local authorities, securing the services of local drillers and lots of laborious fundraising.
We installed a hand pump and are now beginning our quest to raise funds for a permanent solar-driven submersible pump. Our other major challenge will be designing the distribution system for the borehole which, out of necessity, had to be drilled 4 km from the village center.
In the last two years, the scope and diversity of activities has grown significantly. In addition to Water Supply, we now have teams for Energy Technologies, Structures, Small Business Development/Agriculture, and Sanitation, Health, Education & Water Quality. The latter works very closely with Water Supply and in addition to measuring water quality, recently conducted workshops in building tippy taps to encourage hand washing and has a comprehensive health survey in process to obtain health metrics so that the benefits of clean water can be quantified.
The Structures Team, in alliance with the Harvard University Student Chapter of EWB has committed to a program in Mkutani to improve their school and are in the design phase for new schoolrooms, latrines, a library, and much needed teacher housing.
In the Energy area, besides designing solar pump drives, the team is studying soot-reducing stoves, schoolhouse electrification, solar lighting, and is educating the villagers about uses and dangers of electricity which is slated for connection in Mkutani very soon. For the village in Mapinduzi, the team is hard at work assessing the different ways to power a well pump that supplies drinking water to the villagers via a water distribution pipeline. The village leadership and our team agree that a solar pumping solution should work well here to ensure enough power to the pump, while significantly reducing operating costs.
The Small Business Development/Agriculture team’s objective is to help the villagers grow existing businesses and start new drought-resistant ones. It was instrumental in obtaining microloans for both villages where 76 people in teams of 10-15 received loans. There were no defaults and some groups are currently receiving their second and third round of loans for growing their new businesses!
Do you or do you know someone who has expertise in any of the following? If so, please contact the project leaders at email@example.com!
- Agricultural Engineering
- Water Engineering
- Fundraising/Grant writing