A hot day at a Tanzanian school and the kids are taking turns around the newly installed water tank washing their hands and splashing each other. It is nice to finally have water at school that doesn’t need to be fetched and carried long distances. The water looks clean enough and some kids drink the water in turns at the tap.
In the last 10 years Jambo Bukoba has seen great improvements in education, health and gender equality with projects reaching up to 516,000 children in Tanzania.
With these improvements have come great challenges along the way. One of which involved children drinking water from Jambo Bukoba rainwater storage tanks.
While this water has been a valuable resource for washing and cooking, the quality of this water we realised was not ideal for drinking, and Jambo Bukoba found itself with this challenge
How could we prevent the children from drinking this water when it is so readily available for them at school?
How could we make sure that the water they are drinking is clean enough to prevent them from getting sick?
The JB team along with the help from volunteers and other experienced organizations began to come up with possible solutions on how to address the issue of contaminated water being available at school. The answer became simple, the water needs to be purified.
Two (2) water purification methods were decided upon, one being a gravity fed water filter called “PAUL” developed by the University of Kassel. The second is a UVC water purifier which uses ultraviolet light to clean water of pathogens, provided by a water company in Africa called Davis and Shirtliff.
Thus, we began the journey of the JB team together with Lions Club International to oversee the first installation of the PAUL water filter in 1 of 8 pilot schools to receive this water purification systems.
Jane Zentgraf and Kyle Martin from Jambo Bukoba set out with Hans and Eva Rau, two (2) members from Lions Club International who volunteered to help finance and assist the installation of the first PAUL. They met with JB team Tanzania who had already prepared for the project.
The PAULs (4 in total) were on their way via ship to Bukoba, Tanzania. Little did the team know the challenges ahead regarding the arrival of these filters.
Upon visiting the Maguge Primary School near Bukoba, 2 students shared their experience with the new water tank
They spoke of how thankful they were to have water at school and how it relieved them from having to carry water to school each day. The tank also provided them water for preparing porridge at school.
While the toilets and water quality at the schools were still in need of improvements, both school authorities and children showed great enthusiasm and thankfulness over the improvements they had already received.
The arrival and installation of “PAUL”
Two weeks before the PAUL arrival date, the team received news that the water filters would arrive later than expected. As the team was set to depart one (1) day after installation, the team strategized and made new arrangements for an additional PAUL water filter that was expressly shipped from Germany.
The express-shipped PAUL had arrived the night before and the team set out the next day to Nshambatapa Primary School, a school of around 746 children.
The pupils and teachers watched as the local handworkers (Fundi) worked with the JB team, Hans and Eva Rau ensured the PAUL was installed correctly. The metal for the construction of the base had to be cut and welded to fit the PAUL between two water tanks where the water would flow.
The pupils learned about the importance of clean water and the functions of the new water filter. The teachers provided food and support until, after a full day of unexpected challenges with power outages and measurement adjustments, the water filter was installed and ready for use.
Finally, the next step to ensure that children in schools are drinking clean water was done, and would be a great example to build on as we progress with this project into more schools in the future