Rural areas of Tanzania face many challenges. A continuous source of safe, clean drinking water in an area that experiences extreme dry and wet seasons – something we in developed countries take for granted – is one such challenge that the Duncan Rotary Club took on in 2018.
Working as a team with the Duncan-based School Orchards Africa Society (http://www.schoolorchardsafrica.org) and TanCan Roots for Early Education and Sustainability, the Rotary Club is helping to fund the construction of 113,000-litre inground concrete cisterns (or holding tanks) at schools located in Mufindi District. Four cisterns have been built to date, with six more tanks planned for the remaining schools in the district. Mufindi District is one of the four districts of the Iringa Region of southern Tanzania.
Disease is common from contaminated drinking water. Water collected during the rainy season from the roofs of schools is funnelled into the inground tanks. The concrete cisterns provide reliable, clean water for both the school and the village throughout the year.
Maureen Loiselle, President of the School Orchards Africa Society, recognizes the importance of the Duncan Rotary Club’s commitment to the construction of these tanks. “Climate change is very real for the people who live and farm in rural Tanzania,” Ms. Loiselle reminds us. “Weather patterns are changing, and these communities have limited ability and resources to adapt to the changing conditions. These cisterns make it possible to store great quantities of clean water during the dry season.”
Each tank currently costs roughly US$14,400 to construct. Rotary’s support for these cistern projects involves:
- District grants.
- Funds from the Mid-Vancouver Island Group of Rotary Clubs.
- Contributions from the Duncan Rotary Club.
Leighton Mellemstrand, a long-time member of the Duncan club, has visited several tank projects and spearheads the district and club support.