Mkuranga water project, Tanzania
AMREF works alongside community organizations and the district council in Mkuranga, Tanzania to improve water and sanitation. We’re also helping the community improve maternal and child health.
Mkuranga, 50km south of the capital, Dar Es Salaam, is one of Tanzania’s poorest districts. This largely Muslim community is remote and underserved. In the 1990s only 25% households had access to safe, protected water sources – a figure that fell to just 4-10% in some rural areas. Most households used unsafe water with a high risk of contamination by the wild animals sharing these sources.
Less than 5% of rural households used latrines. Diarrhea and water-related diseases such as eye infections and malaria were common, and hygiene behavior such as hand-washing was poor.
In 2001, AMREF began the Water, Hygiene, and Sanitation project (WASUP) in five of Mkuranga’s 15 wards, to reduce water-related disease, increase access to safe water, and improve sanitation using simple, sustainable technology. The scheme improves knowledge about latrines and waste disposal, enabling the community to own, run, and manage its own water and sanitation facilities.
The WASUP project reached 32,000 people directly, empowering women and girls in particular by giving them more time to engage in community development activities. In 2002, AMREF extended the scheme to tackle water-related illness and death among the children under five.
In Mkuranga, "village health days" deliver health education about water and sanitation, child, and reproductive health. Using theater, quizzes, demonstrations, and "edutainment" – public education combined with entertainment – messages about hygiene and sanitation are spread. Issues include the use of latrines, drying racks, immunization, child nutrition, and general environmental cleanliness.
- Construction of 117 shallow wells, 21 bore holes, and 25 rainwater-harvesting systems
- Increased the proportion of households with access to safe water from less than 25% in 2000 to 85.1% in 2006, exceeding expectations
- Enabled 100% of villages to establish water funds
- Trained at least three water technicians per village to operate and maintain water points
- Increased the proportion of households using pit latrines from 33% to 81%
- Enabled an increase in the number of children enrolled in primary school
Based on this success, the program has now been expanded to the whole of Mkuranga district, aiming to reach nearly 125,000 people with safe water by 2011.
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