Lack of Clean Drinking Water in Tanzanian Schools

Introduction

School is important not only for it provides a place for children to study but also to inculcate values that benefit the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, In 2016, Schools in Tanzania, only 38% had an adequate number of latrines, 20% had water supply facilities, and less than 10% had functioning handwashing facilities. The Tanzania water source is unevenly distributed, lacks water purification technology, and the water supply is irregular and expensive in most areas; natural disasters are currently raging. 

Children in schools cannot access safe drinking water, which creates a negative influence on the regular school operation. High disease infection rates and little supplement of sanitized latrine are lowering student attendance, leading to the schools’ poor education. 

As a result, Water Purification Technology has to be improved to solve the water sanitation problem, and organizations, such as Art in Tanzania, are trying the best to get funding to help children get a better school environment.

Main Cause

There is not a single school in Tanzania that would have clean drinking water. Among the 36000 schools in the country, some even can’t supply water at all; they have no water, no sanitation, and no power. How does this happen? We will look into it through three leading causes.

Surprisingly, Tanzania holds many natural water resources. Yet, many citizens have minimal access to water. This is because those mighty water catchments in rivers and lakes are unevenly distributed around the country, and many arid areas are home to large populations. With no urban water pipelines, villagers in those areas need the stamina to take on a journey to get fresh water. Schools in those areas have no way to provide students with large amounts of clean water, which causes great difficulty for regular and resultful academic achievement.

Besides, the water supply in most areas is irregular and expensive; there does not exist a stable supply channel, or to be more specific, the convenient water supply is way too expensive for most people. People in those areas can only spend large amounts of money buying water if they are not capable of long-distance activity. So this also affects the stable operation for schools.

Despite the minimal amount of water supplies, little available water sanitation measurement is also a problem. The clean water supply in the whole country is exceedingly rare. The possible financial support and domestic technology can not provide a practical approach. The financial support for schools cannot support a reliable water sanitation system, and existing technology can not give answers using this amount of funding.

Results

The water supply and sanitation are affected by the above three causes and generate great difficulty for school operation. Lack of clean water supply affects not only students’ physical health but also the school attendance and regular academic progress. 

The current situation for students is that their health is severely affected by the lack of clean water. Students need to spend time to fetch water from distant places, and these workload stops students from focusing on their academic performance. They are the country’s future, and clean water should not be a first-place concern for them. More seriously, even they get natural water, unsanitized water still leads to a high infection rate of waterborne disease, such as Diarrhoea, Typhoid fever, and Escherichia Coli. These waterborne diseases are caused by the viruses and bacteria in unsanitized water. Students who drink unsanitized water or use those water to clean their hands are easily infected, with poor health conditions, they can not have a colorful school life. 

In addition to this, the lack of clean water leads to little latrines supply in the school. This will lower the attendance of girls since they have requirements for sanitary latrines during their menstruation. According to the NATIONAL GUIDELINE FOR WATER, SANITATION, AND HYGIENE FOR TANZANIA SCHOOLS, more than 70% of schools in Tanzania have fewer latrines than the national standard, “20 girls and 25 boys per drop hole”, and many of the existing ones have low sanitation and hygiene situation. The more students share one latrine, the lower the sanitization condition. Frequent absence from school leads to low academic performance and even a high drop rate, data shows that more than 50% of girls drop from primary school because of poor sanitation conditions. The schools require adequate water and sanitation resources to improve students’ attendance and produce better teaching results.

Future

In order to achieve clean water available in the school, currently, Bore Hole Drilling and Solar Water Purification Technology are the methods Tanzania is trying to use. Bore Hole Drilling is a good tool to secure water sources when the public water source is not available. However, the pilot does not have Bore Hole Drilling option. Comparing with Bore Hole Drilling, Solar Water Purification Technology has no such flaw. The schools can install more purification units to clean the water and reduce the number of waterborne diseases, and the cost of those units are more affordable for clean water. 


To help more children access with clean water, Art in Tanzania is continue working to help and assist children in the local community. With the continued effect of COVID19, the number of volunteers in Tanzania is decreasing, and we lack financial support for schools. If you would like to volunteer or make some donation, please do not hesitate to visit our website for more information: www.artintanzania.org

Sources:

https://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2018/04/02/tanzania-investing-in-water-and-sanitation-reaps-benefits-for-poverty-alleviation

https://www.jica.go.jp/english/news/focus_on/water/water_6.html

https://lifewater.org/blog/7-most-common-waterborne-diseases-and-how-to-prevent-them/

A day as an African pupil

By Anna Kevin and Emilia Sten (Originally published on May 10, 2014)

On Thursday morning we left the house with three Danish volunteers to “One School – Primary and Nursery”. They were going to teach there, and we wanted to experience being an African pupil for one day.

It was a bit higher standard at the school. The pupils DSCN6347had desks, books and other school material. Everyone was wearing a school uniform in light blue.

We got a seat in the back row. The lecture started with painting pictures and writing sentences on the board. Everything have to be written down, because not all the children have a chance to get a book of their own. Instead they copied everything down in their notebooks. It took a while for the teachers to get the board ready, but we were very patient. Most of the teaching was done so that the teachers said it out loud and we repeated. The best pupil was the one screaming out the answer the loudest.

DSCN6345After one and a half hour of learning, the ones who wanted got a cup of porridge. This was followed by a half an hour break, and then the active learning continued. The pupils were very eager to learn, maybe that’s because not everyone gets the chance to go to school. Volunteering can give the opportunity for more children to attend school.

DSCN6348

By volunteering you can help the Tanzania to develop. Education standard is still very poor and while the economy is growing the only way to get jobs is to get proper education. Art in Tanzania volunteers and interns help in the schools, supported by UNICEF Children Agenda program.