Amizade makes an important difference everywhere it works, but the possibility to make a difference and the outcomes of that effort are perhaps among their most extreme at our partnership site in Karagwe District, Tanzania. In Karagwe Amizade works with local organizations FADECO and WOMEDA to ensure women and families have access to water. Before working with Amizade to develop sustainable water harvesting systems on their houses, the families must walk as many as four miles every day for water – in each direction – and often the water sources are contaminated.
Gaining access to water is deeply liberating, and the manner in which Amizade works to support access to water is based on locally appropriate technologies and community investment in the effort. Our water harvesting initiative, which is kindly and generously supported by the All People Be Happy Foundation, involves installing aluminum gutter systems on homes to capture rainwater in plastic or cement tanks. This simple solution, managed properly to account for dry seasons, helps ensure continuous access to water. When families have access to water they are empowered; women have chances to work or attend school, children have more time for school and for homework.
All of the families that received tanks this year contributed something to the effort. Often their contribution was the stone and sand for the cement base for the tank. In a region with annual per capita incomes hovering near $300, their labor to collect the stone and sand served as clear testimony to their real commitment to having and maintaining a harvesting system. An entire home water harvesting system costs approximately $400, which is a great deal of money in the local economy but a small price to pay to unleash potential for a whole family. It’s a small price to help individuals have their own opportunities to attend school and to work.
I’ve commented before on the continuously impressive and inspiring work completed by some of my friends in Karagwe District. Ensuring water access simply liberates people and gives them the time and most basic of resources to allow them to develop and innovate for their own communities. If you’d like to help us in these life-saving and empowering efforts, there are three ways you can do so right now:
- You can vote for the water harvesting project on Africa Rural Connect. Vote for us because our solution is simple and elegant, it is locally supported, and it is sustainable. This could help us receive more funding in the future, so please vote now, and have your friends do so too. It will take you about 30 seconds, because you need to register, and it will make a huge, empowering and liberating difference for Tanzanian families if we win. Please make the commitment. And of course, please share the page with others and ask them to endorse!!!
- You can give to support the initiative, and if you give on October 28th, your donation will be matched at 50 cents to every dollar. Matching funds are limited, so go to the Pittsburgh Foundation website right now, create a LogIn, and mark your calendar to return to the site on October 28 promptly at 10 am. Any donation between $50 and $2,500 that you make at that time will be matched at 50% and you can, in the notes section, designate that you want your donation to go toward the Tanzania Water Harvesting Initiative.
- You can become a fan of Amizade on Facebook or otherwise spread the word by sharing Amizade volunteering and giving opportunities with your family, at your religious institution, at your school, college, or university, or with your community group. Every group that volunteers in Tanzania plays some role in supporting this initiative, so the more people who know about the opportunities, the better. During 2010, we'll have semester programs, a summer service-learning course, and open volunteer programs (link coming soon) for volunteers of all ages in Tanzania. Please spread the word and/or share this video:
Thank you for doing what you can to ensure others have basic access to water.