School children at Mikele and Njia Nne primary schools in Mkuranga District, Coast Region have reason to smile after water woes that had forced them to walk over 20kms at the expense of attending lessons, were addressed by an NGO teaming up with the government to workout a solution to the problem.
Water shortage has been a chronic challenge that impacts on school children’s education, thanks to African Reflection Foundation, an NGO that teamed up with the government to end shortage of the precious liquid.
A Grade Six Pupil at Mikele Primary School, Mariam Jumanne, says she walks over 20kms to fetch water, a situation that affects her learning.
“I wake up early in the morning to search for water before walking to school. I have now been labeled a permanent late-comer. Teachers punish me for it. It reached a point where I became tired of school,” she says.
Mariam’s situation is akin to the challenges facing many other school children in Tanzania, who fail to concentrate on studies due to walking long distances to fetch water.
The Seychelles ambassador, Marry Von Pool, who is the founder of African Reflection Foundation, has since launched two wells in Mikele and Njia Nne villages as part of the efforts to end water woes in Mkuranga District.
African Reflection Foundation is an NGO whose key aim is to join in the fight against poverty and uplift Tanzanians to record dramatic economic changes.
According to the ambassador, the foundation aims to reduce poverty, promote better health, support education ensure a good number of villages have access to clean and safe water and open up employment opportunities among the youth.
The diplomat adds that the foundation is also set to educate the community in conserving the environment.
“African reflection foundation in collaboration with drilling for hope, Tridea Cosmetics and the Mkuranga District commissioner have been in touch for quite some time. This is another annual milestone in supporting economic growth initiatives for communities in rural Tanzania,” the ambassador said.
She further added that the launch of the water at Mikere Primary School marks the 100 water wells in the world funded by the Drilling of Hope organization.
The diplomat recounted the incident when she was riding on a vehicle to Mkuranga and there was a downpour, noting that she was astonished to find some hapless people fetching water along the drains.
“I was really touched by the scene. I asked my driver to stop and I had time to exchange views with the villagers on the gravity of the problem. I have never experienced water shortage in my country like the situation I witnessed in Mkuranga. I made my mind to ensure the water woes get addressed in this District and Tanzania as whole,” she says.
Mikele Head Master Magayande Kasinda, says inadequate, clean and safe water has been a longstanding problem at his school
He notes that pupils have been recoding poor academic performance because they spend a lot of time searching for water at the expense of schooling.
“We have been grappling with water woes for a long time. We used to have a well but the water was not safe for children,” says the school head.
Meanwhile, Mkuranga District Commissioner, Gilberto Sanga, says the government has been collaborating with the private sector to support the local communities in various sectors, be it education, health and industrialization.
The DC called on Mikele and Njia Nne residents to maintain the set infrastructure, noting that in case of any damage to the state-of-the art project, all residents will be liable to face the wrath of the law.
A Njia Nne resident, Natasha Salumu, 45, says she feels excited to have been given water in the village, explaining that water shortage affects women more that it does to men.
She says lack of water has jeopardised her marriage, expounding that family conflicts are there to stay in case a woman gets back home late over walking long distance searching for water.
“It was like a dream because we suffered a lot walking long distances to fetch water. Our school children will have no reason to miss lessons, thanks to the NGO for teaming up with the government in addressing the woes.’ Natasha said.