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Tanzania: Lessons From Well Organized Water Suppliers in Dar

PRESIDENT Kikwete recently announced measures taken by the government to improve quality of water services. Among other procedures to be adopted includes invitation of private shareholders in the supply of clean and safe water.

Here is an alliance of water suppliers who have responded positively to the government’s call to end water shortage in Dar es Salaam. They are based in Yombo, Temeke district where a considerable section of residents are enjoying the comfort of water supply in their door steps. The private enterprise is known as Yombo Water Project (MRAMAYO).

With unbelievable humble beginning in 2002, the project went through various difficult stages with varied challenges but finally in 2007 a new leadership assumed the office under Ms Florence Ngowi (Project Secretary) and Yahaya Vulu, Acting chairperson. Florence does not work alone. She has eight other members of the steering committee working together largely under self-help initiative to reach out consumers.

There are 140 households already connected to the supply in addition to 16 dripping points (DPs) and more applications have been received. The project is located at Minazi Mirefu, Yombo Relini providing water services to three localities namely Matangini, Kariagogo and Yombo Relini. Within the area at least four water tanks have been installed with a total capacity of 70,000 litres.

The distribution of water tanks with different capacities is as follows; Yombo Relini (10,000 litres), Sarafina (45,000), Matangini (10,000) and Yombo Primary School (5,000). Explaining how it started, Ms Florence says in 2002 funds received from the World Bank were spent on drilling deep well in the area.

A few water DPs were established and consumers collected water from the area. However, members of the newly appointed committee discovered the potential in the entrepreneurship. They sought technical advice from the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewage Authority (DAWASA) not only on the best way to run the project but also to assist on regular safety test of water supplied.

“Safety is guaranteed. DAWASA works very closely with us and they advise us very well. Dawasa Public Relations Officer, Nelly Msuya and her colleague, Lucy has extended a helping hand and today the project stands as a shining example,” Florence explains. She says the time the new committee assumed the office; there was less than a million shillings in the reserve.

“Today we have 16m/- in the bank despite all challenges facing the operations,” she explains. Explaining how it really operates, the project secretary says an electric water pump has been installed to pump water from the ground to the tanks like the one seen in the picture provided.

“Main water pipes are laid down to reach out consumers, some directly connected for family consumption with installed meter readers and others getting water from DPs.

A bucket of water is sold at 50/-. There has been an overwhelming response among consumers as water supplied is clean, safe and salt free. The quality is tested after every three months,” she explains Among the interviewed consumers is Joha Sebuke, resident of Yombo Relini. “This project has proved to be of great relief to me and other neighbours.

We have running water throughout the year and no inconvenience encountered. The common cry on water crisis is non-existent to my family. It is advisable to have more of such water services in Dar es Salaam. Ernest Mashanga, resident of Matangini is one of the beneficiaries. He is a medical practitioner.

He says, the simple but well articulated water project has been of great significance in the locality and he is not worried of water shortage. “Supply of clean and safe water can cut down by 80 per cent water communicable diseases. It is important deliberate efforts are made to make sure that other entrepreneurs learn from MR AMAYO,” says Mashanga.

Members of the project committee include Yahaya Vulu (chairman) and Florence Ngowi (secretary). Members of the committee are Selestine Robert, Doto Sanzagara, Donatha Major, Enock Mbise Mwajabu Geereza, Rehema Mgeni and local water technician Emmanuel Haule. However, transparency in leadership is described as the major component in smooth operation of the project.

The accounts are closely monitored and chances of mismanagement of funds are completely sealed off. “For example on March 23rd 2013 we convened a meeting and the financial report regarding collection and expenditure was unveiled. We were impressed with the progress and the project is set to reach out more customers,” Rehema Mgeni (committee member) explains.

However, there are enemies of the project. These are none other than unruly individuals who puncture the water tanks causing serious loss as water spreads out uncontrollably. Others prick off the water pipes for illegal connections or for deliberate frustration of the project. “Again there are people who attempted to cheat the project.

These are water tanker vendors who tried to buy cheap from the project only to sell expensive to outside consumers. This is not fair and we have strongly discouraged that,” Florence explains. Remember the community at large has shown great appreciation for the project, she adds, including pupils who previously moved from house to the next in search for water.

Water tanks have been installed at different primary schools for the convenience of the community. These include Umoja, Mwale, Yombo and Bwawani primary schools. “We have deployed the youth to check on possible sabotage of the infrastructure and the arrangement has worked out very well. The community has welcomed the initiative and prayed that more similar projects are put in place,” Enock Mbise (member) explains.

The government through DAWASCO has made efforts to lessen water crisis in Dar es Salaam. Comprehensive water projects which include expansion of Lower and Upper Ruvu stations, Mpera, Kimbiji and Mtoni water sources.

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Tanzania: Lessons From Well Organized Water Suppliers in Dar
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