Kipera Water Project, Tanzania

RCTS is proud of its 2nd international water and sanitation project!

The Kipera Water Project was conceived in the summer of 2012 as the result of a visit from Skyline Rotarians Julie Caron and Aaron Miller. During their visit, Julie and Aaron delivered water and sanitation seminars to the village. These water and education seminars were executed by the Saidia Agriculture and Social Care Organization (SASCO) and funded by Rotary grants obtained through the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918). SASCO is a registered NGO in Tanzania, established and operated by Tanzanians.

Project description
The Kipera Water Project was designed by the villagers of Kipera under the leadership of their village chairperson, with input from SASCO Project Officer Ngilisho Mecca, SASCO Secretary Kennedy Maykao and SASCO Director Timothy Massawe. SASCO brought the project proposal forward to the Rotary Club of Toronto Skyline (RCTS) and we agreed to fund the project in partnership with the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918). RCTS received a District 7070 Grant and Windsor (1918) also received funding from District 6400.

The Kipera Water Project addresses two areas of focus of the RI Foundation, ‘Disease Prevention and Treatment’ and ‘Water and Sanitation’, through the implementation of two large water storage tanks (10 000 L each); one at each end of the village of Kipera. The population of Kipera is approximately 400 people but they are living spread out over a large amount of land such that two tanks are required to ensure equitable access. The project costs include the initial filling of the tanks with water. Morogoro is the closest major city to Kipera. ‘Safe water’ trucks leave Morogoro regularly to bring clean water to the SIM tanks in the surrounding villages.

The villagers suggested that they pay a reasonable price for the water from the tanks such that by the time the tanks are emptied, enough funds will have been collected to finance the re-filling of the tanks. A detailed contract was written up that outlines the terms of management and use of the water tanks. Ngilisho Mecca (SASCO Project Officer for Kipera) will be monitoring the project to ensure the contract is being adhered to.
It was the villagers themselves who designed the project, including paying a small amount for the water to ensure sustainability. The ground-up approach to this project is something that makes it both unique and likely to succeed. The villagers decided against a well because they were unsure of whether the water obtained from drilling would also be contaminated by industrial chemicals leeching through the soil and into the water. There is not enough rain to attempt rainwater collection. The provision of these two tanks means that villagers will have access to uncontaminated water at a reasonable distance from their homes and for a reasonable price.
Note 1: although the water is deemed safe upon entering the tank, the villagers of Kipera have been advised to boil the water to eliminate any organisms that might have entered the water as a result of storage and handling.
Note 2: purchasing water from the SIM tanks is cheaper than what villagers would pay in the closest town because nobody is making profit off of this operation and also because it’s cheaper to purchase 10 000L of water in bulk than by the bucket at the pump in the nearest town.
Water situation in Kipera prior to project implementation
The water source in Kipera is visibly contaminated with oil/gasoline and it is known that a factory located upstream is using river as a dumping ground for industrial waste. The villagers have reported increases in bone deformities (“bone bending”), birth defects and deaths from unknown abdominal diseases (likely cancers) since the industry was established nearby. They also report that cooking with this water turns rice and ugali (their staple starch) blue and causes the food to taste badly. They also attest that the water is unpleasant to use for showering and causes skin irritation. The government has told them this water is not safe for use, but provided no feasible alternative solution.

The next closest water source for villagers is 15 km from their home, women walk this distance as they cannot afford to hire transportation. Furthermore, the water at the alternative source must be purchased for a cost that is unaffordable for most families. It is impossible to carry more than one bucket of water at a time and therefore if using the alternative source, the entirety of their days are filled with getting water. Thus, sadly, there is not really a feasible alternative to using the contaminated water, which is what most people have resorted to doing.

Project implementation
Rotarians Rick and Julie Caron from RC Windsor (1918) and RC Toronto Skyline respectively were in Tanzania to implement the project. The project was completed in partnership with the Saidia Agriculture and Social Care Organization (SASCO). The project was implemented between July 8th and 14th 2013. However, SASCO and the villagers of Kipera did much planning and preparation prior to the formal start of construction on July 8th. For example, the villagers came together to clear and widen the roads leading to the future locations of the water tanks such that the safe water truck can come to re-fill the tanks when empty.
The two water tanks needed to be situated on a solid stands so that buckets can be placed under the spigot.. In addition to being an architect, SASCO Board member Kennedy Makyao owns SAJOK Construction Company. We contracted SAJOK to design, manage and implement the project. Kennedy waived his professional fees, project design fees and did not charge for his time spent on the project (7 days) and all travel expenses. While the villagers provided the labour to prepare the roads to make them accessible for the water delivery truck, Kennedy did hire 8 villagers for general and skilled labour duties in order to stimulate the village economy and transfer knowledge and skills to the villagers. Once the stands were completed, the villagers came together to lift the tanks onto the stands. The team worked quickly and efficiently, working dawn until dusk, to construct the tank stands and were finished in only a few days. Another bonus to having the villagers themselves do the work was the development of a sense of ownership over the project.
The project costs include initial filling of both tanks with water. This was not done during the July 8th to 14th timeline as the cement needed to fully harden before bearing such a weight. SAJOK left careful instructions with Ngilisho Mecca (SASCO Project Officer for Kipera) and the village chairmen on when to fill the tanks ie) in 2 days could fill halfway and then fill to top in 7 days.

The sustainability of the project is ensured thanks to SASCO Board member Ngilisho Mecca. He resides in proximity to Kipera and has a long-term association with the village leadership. A contract was between SASCO and the village leaders on the use, management and maintenance of the water tanks. It is expected that the SIMTANKS will be used to improve quality of life for all of the villagers of Kipera. The SIMTANKS will belong to the villagers of Kipera and will be managed by the village leaders in a way that is fair, just and beneficial to all villagers in Kipera. In addition, Ngilisho will assist Kipera in creating a “Water Management Board” to monitor usage and ensure sustainability. Ngilisho will monitor the contract and the finances related to the project on a regular and ongoing basis.

Benefits of the Kipera Water Project

There are approximately 400 villagers that will benefit from the new water tanks. It is expected that there will be a significant reduction in water-borne illnesses such cholera, shigella, dysentery etc. It is also expected that the rate birth defects and cancers will decline, as villagers will no longer be using toxic water. Baseline data on the illnesses experience in Kipera was collected when the initial water and sanitation seminar was given in 2012 and we are hoping to collect similar data on the one-year anniversary of the installation of the water tanks. There are many benefits to a healthier society including increased productivity and increased lifespan. Furthermore, money saved on health care expenses can be used for other purposes such as education. Without the frequent and long (15 km) trips to obtain clean water from the nearest town, the woman and girls of Kipera will have substantially more time to devote to more rewarding pursuits and personal-development (education, childcare, small business development). It can be assumed that the removal of stress surrounding attaining a basic need such as clean water will improve mental health for the women in Kipera. All of these benefits can only have positive impacts on maternal and child health.

Here is a video of the installation of one of the tanks!

Kipera Village

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Water Supply Before Kipera Project Implementation

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Construction of the Tank pads

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Installation of the Water Tanks

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Celebration of Project Completion

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