Our Stories

Bringing clean water to primary schools in Tanzania

It will come as no surprise that water scarcity in schools and communities has a direct impact on children’s health, academic performance, and overall wellbeing.

According to UNICEF Tanzania, 51% of government schools in rural areas, like where we work in Babati, lack access to safe drinking water. Children are required to bring their own water bags or buckets, which most students have to carry on their long walk to school each day.

Our School Improvement Project prioritises water, sanitation and hygiene for students, teachers and the surrounding community. As the ongoing drought in East Africa impacts livelihoods, food security and education, our priority for reliable clean water solutions has never been more critical.

With So They Can’s support, 10 boreholes now provide a vital source of clean water in 10 primary schools in Tanzania. We have also donated 25 water tanks — 80% with a  5,000L capacity for safe consumption, and 20% with a 2,000L capacity for toilet sanitation.

Mwikantsi Primary School is one of our partner schools that faced severe water shortages. More than 300 children attend the school.

‘It was very hard for us to access water at school. My friends and I used to carry water with us from home on our walk to school. Sometimes our teachers would get us to go and join long queues at the water pipes in the nearby villages, which meant that we were missing class’.

Nestor, Grade 7 Student at Mwikantsi Primary School

Since So They Can drilled a borehole at the school in 2021, it has transformed the school environment and brought many positive benefits in addition to safe drinking water.

‘We use the water from the borehole in so many ways. The volume is good – on average it only takes one hour to fill our 5,000L water tank. Now the water supplies our school kitchen for the school’s feeding program, our quarter-acre vegetable garden for irrigation, hand washing for children’s hygiene, and sanitation in the toilets. The water has also helped us to generate income for the school. With reliable water the harvest from our school garden has increased, and we sell the surplus produce. We are also sometimes able to sell the water locally as a school income-generating activity.’

Mr Gurti, Teacher at Mwikantsi Primary School

In many school communities, there may be access to the Government’s water supply, but the metered costs are too high for them to afford. Among our 28 partner primary schools in Tanzania, 16 schools still lack their own reliable and sustainable source of safe drinking water, which we are working hard to address. Every child has the right to water at their school.


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