Safe drinking water for the Kagera region, Tanzania


Director of community bank, explains the benefit of the table top filter to member
Director of community bank, explains the benefit of the table top filter to member


[two_third_last]For 2 weeks Maria Besteman of Basic Water Needs is in the Kagera region in Tanzania to investigate the water situation of poor farmers and how – together with South Pole and local organization Kaderes – we can improve their access to safe drinking water.

While traveling through the villages in the Karagwe region, it seems there is always a woman or child carrying around a heavy jerrycan filled with water. Water plays an important part in people’s everyday life; it takes much time and energy to collect it. But the water from the sources here is often not safe to drink without treating it, leading to diseases like diarrhea, typhoid and cholera. So on top of collecting the water from the spring or river, women should also treat it to make it safe. Most people seem to know that boiling their drinking water will make it safe to drink. However, collecting the firewood for boiling water and cooking can also easily take a family one hour per day, so women do not always have the time, the energy and/or the money to collect all the materials needed to make their drinking water safe for their families every day.

That is why Basic Water Needs, South Pole and the local organization Kaderes are investigating how to make water filters available in the region that are affordable, easy to use and maintain for the local families. By using a water filter, people no longer have to boil their water saving them time and money and leading to better tasting and crystal clear drinking water. During a 2 weeks investigation we talk to local families to see what their water situation is. We test their drinking water inside the house and their water sources, to see if these are contaminated (so far in almost 2/3 of the households we found E-coli in the drinking water).

BWN is exploring how to set up a sustainable supply chain that will make the filters, its components and water treatment knowledge available to families in the region in a durable and affordable way. Maria is talking to local community banks called SACCOS, which are interested in selling the filter. They have the option of offering the filters to their members through a loan, which the members can pay back in installments.

After collecting all the data and speaking with many different people in the region, we will start setting up the project. BWN will develop the business plan, Kaderes the social marketing activities and South Pole will get Carbon credits for this project, as CO2 emissions are reduced with using filters instead of boiling water.

Curious on the results of the investigation or want to know more on this project, contact Maria Besteman at or keep an eye on our ‘news’ page.

English (UK)
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