Blog, Mission Possible, Oct 2016, The Need For Safe Water 24th October, 2016
On the first day of their deployment to Tanzania, the team of Mission Possible volunteers came to experience what is a daily routine for communities in some of the most impoverished parts of the country. It involves walking several miles each day for drinking water that is far from clean or safe, as volunteer Bushra Rehman found out.
Often what we all want more than anything is to know that our basic needs are being met - but what if others are struggling to access something as basic as clean and safe drinking water; a predicament that not only jeopardises their lives and the lives of their children but also has a substantial impact on education, livelihoods and sanitation more broadly?
The residents of Msaika village, (situated in the Pangani district in Tanga, Tanzania) are facing a multitude of challenges which have severely impacted their lives. Of these, I discovered that a clean and reliable source of water was frequently cited as the most prominent concern.
In these regions, water is as precious as diamonds; a notion unfathomable to someone who has unrestricted access to clean water throughout the day and for someone who takes for granted a prized resource in the most deprived areas of Tanzania.
The villagers are required to travel several miles to arrive to the nearest water source; a source shared by both animals and humans alike, thus subjecting the villagers to a myriad of health issues.
I was unable to process the fact that a water source so infested with bacteria and dirt was the only source of water available for human consumption.
I was able to experience what is so entrenched in the daily routine of many men, women and children by participating in the collection of water from the nearest source. The water I collected would indeed be of some support to the villagers upon my return but at a staggering cost.
Walking to and from the water source was extremely exhausting as it was located a few miles away from the village. As such, it was difficult to apprehend this reality; many men, women and children have no choice but to centre this practice around their daily routine.
Upon our return, we carried out a CPA (Community Participation Assessment) which entailed an open discussion with the villagers in order to establish what they felt was their main development challenge.
As expected, the community members stressed that their biggest peril was the lack of access to clean and safe drinking water in close proximity to the village.
As someone who is completely assured of the fact that a bottle of clean, drinking water is readily available to me throughout the day, coming to terms with the fact there are communities who are deprived from something so basic, something that is in tandem with human rights and dignity was extremely distressing.
On a positive note, I am in absolute awe of the dedication and commitment of the Islamic Help team in ensuring that these deprived communities are heard and their needs are responded to, despite how unrelenting and challenging the situation is.
So far, we have taken part in the construction of sanitation facilities in Mrozo and digging a well in walking distance to the Masaika village; I look forward to seeing these projects unfold and of course, the possibility of these projects in transforming the lives of these villagers.
Applications for our 2017 deployments are open!