After an initial distribution of 50 Sawyer water filters in 2015, Mary Masele of Hope for Children in Adversity (HCA) has now completed distribution of 400 more AWP supplied filters to villages surrounding Dar es Salaam. Excerpts and photos from the report are below.
“HCA team distributed water filters and trained the community on their usage. In some places additional training in hand-washing, hygiene and sanitation were provided accordingly. It is expected that, this project will support accelerated preventive improvements in water-born diseases including, diarrheal diseases, Typhoid, and Cholera etc in the target communities.”
Introducing the project to the District Government officials and getting a permit to distribute the water filters was the first step. The officials were trained in water filter use with full demonstrations of bucket attachment, filter flow, and back flushing so they would understand village use. Households were then identified to receive and use the water filters in collaboration with the Village leaders. HCA staff began with households of orphans and Most Vulnerable Children. The next phase was training the target families on the importance of drinking clean and safe water, hygiene and cleanness in handling the water filters.
Picture above: Water filters usage in schools.
“The most critical thing for the project’s success was participation and involvement of Village committee of Most Vulnerable Children, government officials, HCA staffs, the community and other stakeholders. The project embraced the community as an integral part of success. The way forward is that HCA in collaboration with village leaders, village committees and other stake holders will continue to monitor the usage of water filters very closely and work collaboratively with the District authorities, and the village committees of Most Vulnerable Children to make sure that the water filters are used as intended…. Most households have confirmed that they are happy with the water filters and they have not experienced any difficulties using the water filters though some mentioned about slow flow of water in the beginning.” Note: This slow flow is due to air entrapmentt; once water saturates the filter, flow is normal. “Households are indicating that they are noticing reduction of sickness….”
Photo: Upendo( love) Albino women group members.
Here is one of the many testimonies:
“Tanzania is thought to have the largest population of albinos in Africa. In recent years people with albinism have been persecuted, killed because of witchcraft beliefs as well as assumptions that they are cursed and they bring bad luck. Very few understand or are educated about the medical and genetic causes of this condition. Some people also believe it is a punishment from God or bad luck and that their “disease” could be contagious. This lack of knowledge about people with Albinism in turn has major effects on the social integration of albinos into society. Ninety eight percent of albinos die by the age of forty for reasons, which could easily be prevented. African rituals and spiritual ideas about albinism have led to the brutal murder and attacks on innocent men, women and especially children under the influence of witchcraft who promise wealth, success and power when albino limbs or hair is used in a potion as part of a witchcraft practice. This has gained public attention nationally and internationally, as these are crimes against human rights. HCA provide psycho social support to a group of albinos with their children. HCA distributed 15 water filters to this group. Their group name is called Upendo Albino women group.
This is what Mwanahamisi one of the group member had to say “ –I did not chose to be born with albinism but l always feel like an outcast in my own family and community. Thank God l have Jacob (her child) who makes me wake up in the morning knowing that there is someone who depends on me and l have to do something in order to take care of him. Therefore what l do for a living is making mandazi (local donuts) every morning.
But l do not go out to sell them due to my skin disability – if l sell myself people won’t buy so l have to send someone to go out and sell on my behalf. I really thank African water project(s) for supporting us with water filters, l can now filter water for household use as well as filter and fill filtered water in a bottle and sell it at TZs 500 per bottle. l always get around 25,000-35,000 TZs through selling filtered water. In the beginning it was hard but now they know that l am selling safe water than others who are selling unfiltered water, therefore people come and buy.”
By Victoria Gama, The Masters University