This 2019 photo shows an Arkaria family standing by their rainwater harvest tank made possible through a 2007 partnership between Global Partners for Development and charity: water.
Back in 2007, GPFD partnered with a then young, non-profit organization named charity: water to install 15 rainwater harvest tanks at homes in the village of Arkaria, in Northern Tanzania. These days, charity: water is practically a household name — at least in the international development circles — but back then, leveraging GPFD’s history and contacts in the region was especially important. This past summer GPFD had an opportunity to visit a family in Arkaria that had received one of these charity: water funded rainwater harvest tanks over a decade ago – and it was still in use!
Since 2007, due to the success of these and other early rainwater harvest projects, the Arkaria community has requested additional tanks, and Global Partners has responded, providing the village with additional rainwater harvest tanks in 2013 and again in 2019. In order to be eligible for a rainwater harvest tank, the recipient must meet a certain set of criteria – their home must have a metal roof and gutter which funnels the water into a tank. The tank must sit on a foundation, and they must be willing to share the water with others in their immediate vicinity. These and other requirements help to ensure that the project lasts over time, that the recipient is invested in maintaining the system, and that as many people as possible can benefit from access to clean water.
A woman from the family we met this past summer shared that prior to receiving her rainwater harvest tank, she would walk to the dam to collect water. She explained that the tank typically holds enough rainwater to last 3-4 months but she makes it last for as long as six [from the end of one rainy season to as close to the start of the next]. In addition to providing a family with a source of clean water, a rainwater harvest tank means a mother spends less time walking long distances to collect water and more time with her family. Access to clean water is an important factor in keeping kids healthy and able to attend school. And, enabling a child to attend school improves their chances of escaping poverty.
Though we didn’t get to visit all of the families that benefitted from charity: water funded rainwater harvest systems, we’re happy about the sustainability of the project we had the opportunity to see, and the improved quality of life it has provided to the family over time. And, GPFD has supported the use of this technology beyond Arkaria – recently we funded the extension and renovation of a rainwater harvest system at a school in Kenya. We’re committed to working with communities to identify long-term, sustainable solutions that will get and keep kids in school!