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First microflush toilet ready for business in remote Tanzania

Tanzania has a population of 53 million people — 27 million don’t have access to safe water, and 35 million don’t have access to improved sanitation facilities (toilets!).

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Conditions are particularly difficult in rural parts of Tanzania where the hot, dry climate means that water is scarce, and communities don’t always have enough water for drinking, cooking and agriculture. Often, the little water the community does have is contaminated by disease, and the lack of proper toilets helps to spread disease further and faster.

Click here to see what Waterworks for a Thirsty World is doing to provide clean water for a thirsty world.

Rorya is a small district in the north of Tanzania, bordered by Kenya and Lake Victoria. This district saw the devastating impact of water-borne disease on their children and decided to take action.

Kelvin Adiema is the Community Development Officer for the Anglican Church in Rorya. When Kelvin looked at the situation in Rorya, he realised that his community needed both a secure source of clean water and proper sanitation facilities to combat water-borne disease. Providing water with no toilets, or toilets with no water wouldn’t fix the problem.

Collecting water in Rorya before the bore hole was opened. Eddie Ozols/Anglican Aid

Kelvin did some research and found eco-friendly “microflush” toilets would be a great solution for Rorya. Microflush toilets are an ingenious, low-tech solution, where a small basin is attached to the toilet by a hose, and one cup of water is used for both hand washing and flushing.

The community decided to install the toilets in the marketplaces of 26 villages in Rorya. This maximises the impact for each village without the difficulties of installing toilets in each home.

To provide clean water, a 70 metre bore was sunk on the grounds of the Anglican church in Kowak village. The bore supplies clean water for the entire community. As well as providing clean water, the bore means that women and girls in the village no longer have to walk 10km to the nearest lake to collect water—a daily journey that puts the girls at risk of assault, being attacked by wild animals, and keeps them from attending school.

Water from Kowak bore hole. Eddie Ozols/Anglican Aid

Kelvin realised early on that education would be key to making the project a long-term success. He had seen water projects fall into disrepair in other communities when there was no one trained to maintain equipment. He had also seen the benefits of clean water lost because of poor personal hygiene practices.

Village leaders are being trained in how to maintain and administer the public water supply and toilets. Teachers in the district are receiving training in good sanitation and hygiene practices so that they can transfer the knowledge to the children. Kelvin says, “It is our belief that when we train young children in primary schools [in good hygiene practices] we will have improved the rest of their life.”

Twenty six social workers will be trained to educate the community on basic health, hygiene and sanitation in the 26 villages where the microflush toilets will be installed.

Kelvin approached Anglican Aid in late 2017 seeking funding for the project. Anglican Aid was excited to get behind such a great community development project, and has been raising funds for it through the Waterworks for a Thirsty World campaign.

The community celebrates the opening of the Kowak bore hole in October. Eddie Ozols/Anglican Aid

Anglican Aid’s Operations Manager, Eddie Ozols, was in Tanzania to see the first part of the project officially unveiled in October. This included the opening of the bore at Kowak and the first microflush toilet nearby!

Kelvin is now busy planning the construction of the remaining 25 toilets, and bores at Luanda and Panyakoo. He looks forward to seeing the difference it will make in his community.

“This project will totally change the health status of many people in Rorya,” explains Kelvin. “It will reduce water-borne diseases and deaths, reduce time spent by women and school girls in fetching water during school hours, and ending open defecation – by constructing microflush toilets – will lead to environmental conservation.”

To find out how you can help provide water and sanitation in Rorya, click here. You can also see the challenge that Kelvin has set himself to help raise funds for the project.

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