Tanzania: Water Communities' Strategies On the Fight Against Corona

WASHING hands with clean running water and soap is among the key steps that the government emphasizes in the fight against the spread of coronavirus in the country.

If that is the easiest way that everyone can get away with the use of hand sanitizers, then the government through experts in the health sector emphasized that every home and business area should have a special area with hand washing equipment.

The order included all public and private offices, shops, hospitals and health centers, taxi, bus and motorcycle stations; and even in markets.

To get to the outskirts of the city, the call was made to the public and private water borehole supervisors who provide the service to the community.

It was a comfort to see a positive response from water service providers who are essentially at the forefront of the battle against the spread of Covid-19. Dar-es-Salaam Water and Sewage Authority (DAWASA) services the city of Dar es Salaam and the towns of Bagamoyo, Kibaha, Mkuranga, Kisarawe and Chalinze in the Coastal Region.

DAWASA is also the project manager of all public projects run by the communities through water user associations or water committees.

The authority is also continuing with registering of private water service providers who have met all criteria, including obtaining a groundwater permit from Wami Ruvu valley and water quality.

DAWASA has been given the mandate following the adoption of the new water supply and sanitation act no.5 of 2019.

It gives DAWASA the responsibility of supervising water and sanitation services in Dar es Salaam city.

In the fight against the spread of coronavirus, water service providers were invited to DAWASA offices and were encouraged to support the government's efforts in the war against the spread of the virus in the areas that they offer and need their services.

They were also required to have soap and know proper ways of hand-washing, for them to be able to educate customers and people they serve; The response was positive and satisfying.

In the city of Dar es Salaam with more than five million residents, have total of 75 water service providers.

They have been able to install protective gear that includes water buckets for washing hands together with soap in 241areas with crowds like bus stands, motorcycles and tricycles (bodaboda and bajaji) stands as well as in areas of fetching water.

These efforts are continuous. The chairman of one of the water associations known as Mamboleo A situated in Temeke District, Mr Ally Saidi stated that there has been a great response within the community in washing hands and protecting themselves from the spread of the virus.

"Indeed, after the government's directives on putting protective gear in the essential areas were citizens get services, many people have received this with utmost urgency.

DAWASA also made educative visits to us on proper ways to protect ourselves through clean water services that we operate under the authority," said Mr Saidi.

He added that as of present every facility that is under the water project has put in place a bucket of clean water and soap so that customers who come for water services wash their hands before they touch the taps.

Mr Saidi added that placing water and soap did not end at their service centers but in other numerous places with crowds as well.

The chairman of the Moringe water association located in Mbagala Kizuiani, Mr Joseph Chilala assured that they have put a system in place that guarantees all customers who come for water service wash their hands with clean running water and soap, otherwise they are not serviced.

"Right now the trick is to wash your hands with soap and running water to get service, one cannot open any tap at the service center without washing hands with soap.

We are grateful for DAWASA as they have provided us with the equipment for the fight against the spread of Covid-19 including buckets, soap, and proper education on how to use them," he commented.

DAWASA also allowed them to connect water to the public to ensure that every citizen has access to clean water to be able to wash hands with running water. These buckets have also been placed in crowded places.

According to Mr Chilala, the act of DAWASA supporting them with equipment has strengthened their effectiveness in carrying out their duties while adhering to all protective measures against coronavirus.

Receiving services from one of the water associations, Ms Rukia Simba has commended efforts put by the water associations in ensuring the accessibility of clean water especially during such times of the spread of the virus.

She urged the water associations to take stern measures to those who will violate the protective system put in place.

"Such an initiative is very important to us who are not connected to the DAWASA water system and rely on such associations for access to a reliable supply of clean water.

This virus is very dangerous and without reliable availability of water, the situation would have worsened."

She emphasized that no one can get near the water taps and fetch water if they have not washed their hands.

It is a good system as it protects the citizens from the virus as the government directed.

"If one wants to draw water from the taps, it's a must to wash hands with soap before you get the service.

We appreciate DAWASA for it has simplified this by providing over 20 water buckets and soap in our kigamboni area," she commended.

DAWASA Head of Communications and Community Unit, Neli Msuya said that water associations have been very helpful in offering water services to areas that are not connected with DAWASA water network, while they are closely supervised in the running of their daily activities.

"During this time of the fight against coronavirus, we have made efforts to ensure that these associations are at the forefront of protecting themselves and the community getting serviced by them against the spread of the virus.

We have provided them with protective equipment, as well as education on the correct way of washing hands and other precautions during this period," he explained.

Apart from providing water services, DAWASA supervises community projects run by municipals and are managed by around 321community based water associations which are situated in different areas of Dar es Salaam

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