Babati, Tanzania, is a nation of more than 41 million people in Central East Africa. In northern Tanzania's Manyara region, the majority of communities have little or no access to clean water and adequate sanitation, resulting in life-threatening illnesses. In addition, many parts of the region have been impacted by drought over the past decades, creating an unreliable water supply that affects both human and cattle populations. Women and children often have to travel up to six hours a day in search of clean water. These long travel times and distances hinder the ability for these people to attend school or participate in other economically vital and productive activities in their communities; not to mention the fact that these long distance trips away from their homes can expose them to sexual assault and rape.
In conjunction with World Water Day, and inspired by the journey women and children in water-stressed countries make each day to obtain clean water for their families, PCI and Nika Water have sponsored multiple Walk for Water events in their hometown of San Diego, California.
In addition to other funds raised by PCI, direct contributions by Nika and PCI/Nika’s multiple Walk for Water events benefitted The Babati Health through Water and Sanitation (BAHEWASA) Project. Work to aid people living in rural communities of the Babati District, Manyara Region of northern Tanzania was completed in 2012.
The Tanzanian water service project has gone extremely well and considerably exceeded its goal. The project target was to ensure that 5,769 households accessed quality water within half a kilometer of their homes. According to project data, the 129 wells (67 constructed and 62 rehabilitated) completed are serving 33,091 persons. The empowerment of 23 communities to maintain these systems is crucial in the goal of an area’s own sustainability as well. In 2008, the number of community respondents who felt the burden was large and very difficult was 46%; this has fallen to 3% by 2012. The responsibility for water collection falls overwhelmingly on 90% of the adult woman in the households. In comparison only 32% of the men are involved. By 2012, the time spent on a water collection trip was reduced to between 15 and 30 minutes per trip, for at least half of the women.
Education plays a large role as well, with 94% of the community respondents correctly identifying water borne diseases. This shows that there has been consistent public awareness about the issue, significantly reducing the burden of disease on communities. In addition, the target of the construction/improvement of latrines in schools has also been achieved. About 98% of the respondents reported that no one in the household has had any of the related diseases, since implementation. This suggests that there is a very significant societal change, due to improved sanitation, education, and hydration.