Tanzania government pledges 500 million USD to address the rural water crisis after Media for Community Empowerment journalists air villagers’ concerns

by | Oct 22, 2019 | News


Tanzania’s Ministry of Water has pledged 500 million USD to improve more than 600,000 people’s access to safe water in Korogwe, Muheza, Handeni, and Pangani districts.

The announcement came two weeks after Media for Community Empowerment (MeCE), a non-governmental organisation dedicated to amplifying citizens’ voices through local radio and other media, aired the concerns of villagers in Mswaha on Korogwe-Tanga’s Voice of Africa Radio and Morogoro’s Planet FM.

Speaking to journalists on 27 September in Mandela, Korogwe district, Tanzania’s deputy water minister Jumaa Aweso said:

“The government realises the challenges of accessing water in rural areas, especially in the districts of Korogwe, Muheza, Handeni and Pangani. We have a fund from the Indian government worth 500 million USD and we are allocating this fund to these four districts. It is my hope that when this project is done, many villagers will benefit from the availability of water. People from Mswaha village, we heard your cries and the government is now taking action”

Media for Community Empowerment broadcast Mswaha villagers’ complaints four times between 2-19 September as part of their flagship program Sauti Yangu (My Voice), which provides a platform for Tanzanians to explain how the water crisis affects their community and call for government action.

MeCE journalists interviewed villagers who walk up to 5km to collect water that is often dirty, dangerous and disease-ridden. In many cases, villagers are left with no choice but to pay for overpriced water from private providers as government water supplies are often unavailable or inaccessible.

The Chairperson of Mswaha village, Korogwe district, Mr. Ibrahim Musa said:

“It affects us so much – we get diseases such as diarrhoea, and typhoid. When you hear cholera has erupted in Korogwe, people tell you it has been caused by using water from Pangani River. Another challenge in collecting water from Pagani River is the presence of crocodiles. In 2016, an old man’s leg was eaten by a crocodile when he was fetching water. Now he is walking on one leg. In 2017, a woman was eaten by a crocodile. She was lost. We later came to find her palm. In 2017, in our neighbour’s village Mwenga, a young man was also eaten by a crocodile.”

According to WHO/UNICEF, only 57% of Tanzania’s 57 million population have access to basic water services, while only 25% have access to safely managed sanitation. In rural communities, water shortages are acute. 

Media for Community Empowerment’s director Sharifa Bakari Nyanga said:

“We are pleased the government has listened to citizens’ complaints. This pledge shows admirable commitment to addressing the rural water crisis. We hope this is the started a concerted effort to fulfil every Tanzanian’s human right to safe water and sanitation. We look forward to broadcasting radio programmes from other districts to further amplify citizens’ voices.”


For more information, please contact:

  • Mohammed Hammie, Media for Community Empowerment deputy director on +255 719 000 010 or email [email protected].

  • Sam Taylor, End Water Poverty engagement officer on +44 (0)20 7793 4948 or email [email protected].

About Media for Community Empowerment

Media for Community Empowerment Tanzania (MeCE) use local media to engage citizens, amplify their voices & hold governments accountable for solving the water crisis.

About End Water Poverty

End Water Poverty is a global coalition of organisations campaign for governments to respect, protect and fulfil citizens’ human rights to safe water and sanitation.