By Dale Dodge
Rotary Club of Oliver
Emairete is a small village of approximately 3,000 people about one hour from the city of Arusha, in Northern Tanzania.
The people are Maasai and they live a traditional lifestyle of herding cattle, goats and sheep.
They have also learned how to farm, so during the rainy season, small plots of corn and vegetables supplement their diets.
Finding water and grazing land for their cattle were the main reasons that Maasai traditionally have been nomads.
With the increased pressure to stay in villages, traditional water sources have often been inadequate to supply water all year round.
In Emairete, the men improved the water supply 20 years ago by hand digging a 23 foot well close to an area with springs. They also received a grant to dredge out a water collection pond, filled annually with rain water, to help get their cattle through the dry season. They are definitely an industrious and hardworking group.
One of the village men, Amani Laizer, is a nature and wildlife guide. In 2018 he took Phil Elliott of Okanagan Falls for a two-day walking safari to see elephants, zebras and wildebeests. He told Elliott of the water problems in his village and asked if there was any way he could help. When Elliott returned to Canada, he contacted me (Dale Dodge) who had experience working with water systems in Nepal. Elliott and I, and our partners, Sandra and Roberta, arranged to meet Amani in Arusha in February of 2019 and go to Emairete.
We we saw impressed us greatly. We met with a group of men and women who make up a water development committee (WDC).
If money could be raised for equipment and supplies, 100 per cent of labour would be supplied at no charge by the community.
Some money had already been raised by taking a collection from users of the existing water system – they asked for a goat or cow from each family, which was then sold in town and the money put into the WDC bank account.
The plan includes fencing the entire spring and water pump area, which is approximately one acre, to make it completely inaccessible to livestock and wild animals.
It includes building retaining walls around the three small springs, deepening them to a depth of six feet by hand, and putting a landing so people can fill buckets easily. It includes the construction of a small dam to collect and retain rain water, and a plan to annually remove the silt collected so that the dam will function for many years.
On our suggestion, they added a sealed, hygienic, non-smelling toilet of a similar design used in Nepal.
One of the three small springs used to collect water. It is not much more than a mud hole, but will be deepened to six feet, retaining walls built all around with a collection area for filling buckets.
The budget for the entire project is just over $12,000 CDN. About $4,000 has already been raised, leaving $8,000 more. As the money is raised, it is sent to Amani. As he spends it, he sends back copies of invoices to justify the expenditure and he sends photos to show the progress of the project.
This project is so important because the people of the village have taken ownership of it – they have planned it, they will build it themselves, and they will manage it over the long term.
Many people would love to change the world and be a part of this positive change. In helping this small village to secure their water supply, we will definitely change the world for them.
You can help by sending a cheque made out to Emairete Water Project to Box 92, Osoyoos, BC, V0H 1V0.
Or you can e-transfer funds to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.