Team Mvumi: the impact of water as a resource on the people of Mvumi village

9th November 2014

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When we were asked to write about the impact of water in the community of Mvumi, we immediately thought back to our journey here; dust for miles and miles with no water in sight. As we reached the village the greenery began to emerge.

Mvumi was much larger than we had expected and is in fact divided into ten sub villages. Water has allowed farming to flourish and along with its hospital and close proximity to Dodoma (the national capital), Mvumi has the potential to thrive. The past 3 weeks our school sanitation and hygiene project has included construction of latrine blocks, awareness raising, introducing peer to peer education groups and the development of learning resources for the community. But another major achievement for our group has been successfully integrating ourselves into the community. While performing action research about health and sanitation in the area, we were able to get to know many of the villages in the nearby houses. We were even lucky enough to do weekend homestays and used this as an opportunity to ask them about how water has impacted Mvumi.

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Robert, a local tailor who welcomed us into his home described the changes that he has seen in water and what impacts this is having in Mvumi. The primary water source for the community are an array of bore holes around the town unfortunately, as Mvumi continues to grow, more bore holes are being dug, and they are being dug far deeper As the bore holes are deepened, Robert states that the drinking water contains more sediment, and becomes less safe to consume. Whilst doing our household surveys, we discovered that many people agree with him.Our surveys revealed that many people treat their water by simply leaving it outside in a bucket, so the sediment can settle and the sun can treat it. When asked why they aren’t boiling their water, many have said that buying wood to boil the water is too expensive using the traditional Tanzanian three stone method. After learning of these problems, Team Mvumi has set about investigating the potential use of rocket stoves in the community. Rocket stoves are simple to make, easy to use and increase the efficiency of using firewood therefore reducing the work needed and the overall cost of boiling water.

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We have planned rocket stove demonstrations at several houses throughout Mvumi in our second phase of the project, including the village executive officer. Robert was also thrilled that we asked him if we could demonstrate the use of a rocket stove at his shop to show people how they work in the nearby community. Through empowering youth to spread the ideas of sanitation and hygiene and giving the people in the community the means and knowledge to ensure that they have clean water to drink, we hope that we can give Mvumi the opportunity to continue growing and reach its deserved potential.