Hello (Hujambo)!

Since 2012, we have been working in the Dodoma region of Tanzania. This central region contains the capital city of Dodoma. We have been involved in three villages here: Mapinduzi, Mkutani and Chamhawi. 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, none of these villages were connected to electricity, water or paved roads. EWB Boston has made significant progress in all of these villages where we coordinate with the village leaders, water committees and local government to understand how we can best partner with 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 higher, 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.

Drilling the new borehole

In Mkutani, EWB Boston had a major achievement in the Spring of 2016 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.

Handpump at Mkutani borehole

A hand pump was initially installed and after another year of design and fundraising a permanent solar-driven submersible pumping system was implemented in August 2018.  Our current challenge is to design a pipeline and storage tank for the system to bring the water supply the 4 km distance into the village. This will greatly increase the use of the clean water and consequently the health of the community members. We are planning to build this pipeline in 2021.

A tippy tap in action

In the last few 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 (SHEWQ).  The latter works very closely with Water Supply and in addition to measuring water quality, conducts workshops in building tippy taps to encourage hand washing and has completed a comprehensive household survey to obtain health and daily living metrics so that the benefits of clean water, sanitation and education/training can be quantified.

The Structures Team, previously in partnership with the Harvard University Student Chapter of EWB and since 2017, in partnership with the MIT Student Chapter of EWB, has worked to improve the Mkutani primary school and has designed and built much needed teacher housing, water catchment systems to provide drinking water for the students and teachers.

We are nearing completion of the design phase for a new latrine and wash facilities for the girls at the Mkutani Primary School which we plan to build in 2021. The Feminine Sanitation Team from MIT is working with the Boston Professional Chapter to develop educational posters and materials for the girls and boy of the primary school in relation to sanitation and puberty.

We have also begun the design for a new multipurpose classroom and learning center which will have flexible spaces to be also used for vocational training of the community members. This is currently planned for 2022.

Students at the Mkutani School

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 worked in conjunction with the Water Supply team to design and build a solar powered pump for the borehole well that supplies drinking water to the villagers via a water distribution pipeline. The solar powered system was installed in October 2017. This system has enabled the community to obtain all the potable water needed at a significantly lower cost now that they do not have to purchase fuel which is very costly. This in turn lowers the operating costs and they are never restricted by poor economic conditions to provide clean water for everyone to drink.

Community members learning about Moringa planting

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. A moringa growing initiative took place over two years and a number of participants from both Mapinduzi and Mkutani received training on growing this drought resistant superfood.

Another project which was done in partnership with the MIT Student Chapter of EWB was to develop a training manual for the technicians of Dodoma to enable them to support the growing number of solar powered pumping systems for borehole water supplies. A training of the technicians was conducted in August of 2019 at the Mapinduzi village solar powered water supply.

We kicked off a new water supply project in the village of Chamhawi which is located in the district of Mpwapwa in the summer of 2019. We are currently nearly completion of the first stage which was the drilling of a borehole. The water from this 120 meter deep borehole has been tested and approved for as fit for human consumption. The hand pump from Mkutani was installed on the borehole this month (October 2020) is now helping to provide clean water for the community of Chamhawi. This project was implemented by EWB Boston Professional Chapter successfully remotely as Covid-19 concerns have prevented us from being there in person for this project.

Do you or do you know someone who has expertise in any of the following? If so, please contact the program manager, Barbara Piper, at tanzania@ewbboston.org!

  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Water Engineering
  • Microfinance
  • Fundraising/Grant writing