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Claude Mungongo, country coordinator, Tanzania Partnership Program

Mary Malekela, in-country program officer, Tanzania Partnership Program

Helping my fellow countrymen

Claude Mungongo
Professor, University of Dar es Salaam, and Country Coordinator, Tanzania Partnership Program

I have been involved with the TPP water program in Naitolia ever since it began in 2008.

This project is very important to this region because water scarcity is the problem. This is a semi-arid area and rains are very, very erratic and very scarce. So any project that improves the supply of water is very important resource in this area.

I grew up here in Tanzania. This project is very important to me personally because I’m one of those people who had the opportunity to get an education. I have access to almost all the resources I need to live a comfortable life. But when you visit areas like this, you realize how many of our countrymen face difficulties in life. So we have to do something to help our fellow countrymen live a better life.

We are working under the concept of creating resilient communities. What we mean by community resilience is that people should be able to come back to their normal lives when they’ve faced some stress. It could be climate change; it could be any other natural catastrophe. But they should have the energy, the possibility, and the capacity, to come back to their normal lives.

The overall goal is at least to reduce some of the stresses felt because of the shortage of water and generally of climate change.

I want someday when I come back to this community to see that we did something that improved, somehow, their lifestyles and their living capacity and the capacity to be resilient to stressors.

BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES THROUGH BETTER EDUCATION

Mary Malekela
In-country Program Officer, Tanzania Partnership Program

As the in-country program officer for MSU’s Tanzania Partnership Program (TPP), I work closely with the Milola community and the district council to identify projects and facilitate implementation. I work closely with the District TPP team that implements projects at a local level. With the preprimary school project, I served as a catalyst to help the community understand the importance of education and to solidify support for the construction of a preprimary school in Ngwenya.

As the community developed trust in TPP and confidence that better quality education would come to Ngwenya, two village elders donated 100 acres of land for the school so that community members could live closer to the school and school-related activities. During the process of building the school, I was responsible for maintaining accountability, communicating progress to MSU’s TPP program manager, and serving as a bridge between MSU and Tanzanian partners.

I believe anything is possible. With only a few resources and a little bit of goodwill, we can do a lot. I feel bad when I see malnourished mothers and children who just need a little help to learn how to take care of their babies using the resources they have around them. With such a young population in Ngwenya, many do not know how to read and write, and I wonder what will happen with them, as everything comes from education.

When I saw all the children who have never gone to school, I asked myself, ‘What will happen to their lives without education?’

Building the preprimary school will be helpful because these kids are very far away from any other school. They are not big enough to walk the long distance of about seven kilometers to a nearby school until they are about 10, and then they are already behind and too old for being in a standard school. They may never go to school because they have missed the opportunity. The district has accepted the school into the government system and will build a primary school there in the near future. The children will be able to live a better life with education.

I hope that the school project, the water project, and other projects that we are doing will help communities become stronger. Children will have a better education, access to water, and will be able to participate in school farms and other activities where they can acquire knowledge and skills, change their attitudes, and improve their lives.

GENERATING A WELLSPRING

James Ngana
Associate Professor, Institute of Resource Assessment, University of Dar es Salaam

My area of expertise is water resources and hydrology. I have worked extensively at various river basins in Tanzania as well as on matters of integrated water resources management, hydrology, climate change, and environmental studies.

The village of Naitolia is located is a semi-arid area where water is a very scarce commodity. The village community has been relying on water ponds during the rainy season, as the only borehole was about nine kilometers from the village. The Partnership for Sustainable Community Development Program and the Tanzania Partnership Program, for which water is one of the main focus areas, are highly acknowledged by Naitolia residents.

I was asked to assist in the investigation for water development in the study villages. Consultation with the village community and Monduli District Council indicated that rehabilitation of the borehole, which was about eight kilometers long, should not be a priority due to distance and technical complexities.

In 2009, the partners agreed to support a hydrogeological survey in Naitolia and its vicinity to investigate potential sites with access to ground water. The survey reported a number of potential sites but strongly recommended the one closest to the village, which indicated very little water. This proved not to be economically viable, so that option was abandoned.

Having made such efforts without much progress, the program and its partners agreed not to give up. We then realized the only option was to go back to the old borehole and try to rehabilitate it despite the long distance.

Rehabilitation was then initiated and, after many technical hurdles, water eventually rose up into the storage tank. It was a special occasion to see water flowing at the reservoir.

It is now easier to ensure gravity flow will continue to bring water to the village for many years. The Naitolia community’s dreams are coming true, and they are very thankful to MSU’s Tanzania Partnership Program.