Wells exist in many villages in Unguja but there are no storage tanks attached and the pumps used to draw water to the surface burn out if used continuously.
This intermittent water supply means that women and children spend large parts of their day carting water long distances to their homes, often having to make multiple trips to coincide with times when the wells are in operation.
This takes children out of school and impinges on adults’ working life – it is estimated that 40 billion working hours are spent carrying water each year in Africa.
In addition to this people often turn to using unsafe water sources which can cause outbreaks of diseases such as cholera. In the confines of a school packed with children in close proximity, this enables such waterborne disease to spread with impunity and results in high levels of absenteeism. It can also have more serious consequences for less robust or malnourished children.
Working in some of the poorest parts of Zanzibar, our team provide water tanks with tap stands for schools that are participating in our School Health Monitoring Project; giving a reliable and easy way to draw a supply of safe drinking water available all day.
This frees up the time children previously spent queuing and collecting water for more productive activity, such as learning in class.
The community are also free to use the water and this would enable women to spend more of their time working to generate much needed income or caring for their families.