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Script 86.1

Notes to broadcasters

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Water is an important and basic requirement for human survival, and is usually regarded as “life.” However, availability and safety of water are two important factors for a good life. Access to clean water is crucial, especially these days when we are facing the effects of climate change. In many places, especially in rural areas, the little water available is usually not clean, and is distant from village settlements. Children are the most vulnerable in such situations. Inadequate access to safe water, along with poor hygiene practices, results in sickness and even death among children, due to diarrhea and other sanitation-related diseases.

Women, and to a lesser extent children, are primarily responsible for fetching water for household use, transporting it home, storing it until it is used, and using it for cooking, cleaning, washing, and watering household animals. When there are water shortages, women and children suffer, as they must spend up to six hours per day walking to fetch water, which may be unclean. It is important that broadcasters realize these problems and address the issue of water and sanitation.

This script from Tanzania shows the collective efforts of farmers in a village where water shortages have been a problem since the village was formed in the 1960s. There is no water source in the village; women and children (especially girls) walk nine kilometres to fetch water. The water collected is unclean, because the source is simply a low piece of land where water has collected to form a pond. Since the pond is also used to water livestock, the animals trample in the water and make it dirty. Water-borne diseases are very common in the village.

After suffering for many years waiting for the government to supply water in the village, the villagers decided to work collectively to solve their water problem. They dug a small pond to harvest run-off water during the rainy season. They can use this water for about three months after the rainy season ends. Also, the village government collects money from every household to cover the cost of drilling shallow wells so that clean water can be available in the village.

This script can be adapted to any rural setting where water and sanitation is a problem, where the community or village has not received any assistance from the government or a non governmental organization, and is forced to rely on their own efforts.

This script is based on an actual interview, conducted with a villager leader in Tanzania. To produce this script on your station, you might choose to use voice actors to represent the village leader, and change the wording in the script to make it suitable for your local situation. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interview, and that the program has been adapted for your local audience, but is based on a real interview.

Script

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HOST:
Dear listener, welcome to today’s program. It is well known that water is one of the most important basic needs for human survival. Water has to be clean and safe. A shortage of water causes skin and eye problems as people do not wash. Likewise, unclean water may result in water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and other stomach ailments. Water is also important for our animals, for irrigating our farms, and even making bricks for our houses. However, water is becoming scarce in many parts of Tanzania, and only a few villages have access to clean and safe water. Therefore, it is important for all of us to take action.

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HOST:
In our program today, we will speak to Mr. Costa Francis, the Chairman of the Water Committee from Talawanda village in Ludiga ward, Bagamoyo district, in the Pwani region. Mr. Francis will tell us how the Water Committee has led the village’s efforts to solve the water problem that has affected them since the 1960s when the village was formed. It is my hope that, by listening to Mr. Francis, we will learn a lot, and be encouraged to make efforts to solve our own problems.

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HOST:
Welcome to our studios, Mr. Francis.

FRANCIS:
Thank you.

HOST:
Mr. Francis, can you explain to our listeners the water situation in Talawanda village?

FRANCIS:
Water affects each and every one of us, because water is life. Children, men and women, and animals – we are all affected in one way or the other. I can cite some examples. Children who do not wash for a couple of days may have skin problems. Families get their meals late because mothers spend a lot of time fetching water. Women suffer the most, because they are responsible for household chores.

HOST:
Why do you say that women suffer the most?

FRANCIS:
Women are the ones who walk up to nine kilometres from the village to fetch 40-litre containers of water. The time spent fetching water deprives women of time looking after their families and other things.

HOST:
Francis, how are farmers affected by the water problem?

FRANCIS:
A shortage of water makes it impossible to irrigate crops in the dry season, or when there is a long dry spell. Crops such as tomatoes and green vegetables fetch good prices in the dry season, but we cannot grow them, because there is practically no water for irrigation. Livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats do not get the water they need. Instead, they are given water only twice per week.

HOST:
What solutions or alternatives does the village have?

FRANCIS:
The village is in the middle of rolling hills, and there are two ponds in valley bottoms that fill up with runoff water during the rainy season. They are in a communal area. I am not sure of the size, because we have not measured them. But I can roughly estimate one to be about 200 metres wide and five to ten metres deep. We use the water we collect from these ponds when the rains stop in May until the peak of the dry season in August. After that, villagers must find water elsewhere.

HOST:
How is the water removed from the ponds?

FRANCIS:
With buckets.

HOST:
Are animals allowed to drink water from all ponds?

FRANCIS:
Yes, and this pollutes the water.

HOST:
What have you done so far as a village Water Committee to solve the water problems in your village?

FRANCIS:
The Water Committee has the job of coordinating all the water activities in the village. First, we organized the villagers to dig a small well. It is about 20 metres deep and five metres wide. We could not do more because we lack appropriate equipment. Fortunately, the well provides water, although it is not much. But the well does not dry up until the onset of the rains.

HOST:
Where is the well located? Can everyone use the water?

FRANCIS:
The well is located near the village primary school, and whoever needs the water can use the well.

HOST:
How do villagers collect water from the well?

FRANCIS:
Water from the well is mainly for household use. Women use small containers or buckets which hold about five litres of water, and are tied to a strong rope.

HOST:
Is the well lined or covered in any way?

FRANCIS:
No, and there is always a risk that the water will get dirty, or children will fall in.

HOST:
Does the Water Committee have any plans to improve this situation?

FRANCIS:
Yes. We decided to dig the well out more and cover it with a concrete slab so that we can have more and safer water, even in the dry season. If possible, we would like to have a hand pump.

HOST:
Who is going to fund these improvements?

FRANCIS:
Our national government encourages self-support for development. So the Committee asked each of the 640 households in the village to contribute 10,000 Tanzanian shillings (Editor’s note: about $8 US dollars or 6 Euros) in order to collect about six million shillings (about $4800 US dollars or 3600 Euros). Once we have the funds, we will ask the local district government to provide technical support and even financial support.

HOST:
There is only one reliable well for the village in the dry season. Do you have plans for more?

FRANCIS:
We understand that we don’t have enough water. We are thinking of digging more wells around the village. We would like to have a well in each of the three sub-villages. We also plan to enlarge the well we have.

HOST:
How do you store the money?

FRANCIS:
To build trust in the community, the money has to be well-protected and used for the intended purpose. All who contribute money get a receipt. We have opened a bank account to keep the funds safe.

HOST:
What do you do after the three months, when the pond dries up?

FRANCIS:
We have money that we have received from the government in a bank account. We will use this money to buy pipes to take water from the ponds to small storage tanks near every small street in the village. The government water department will lay the pipes, and the water will flow by gravity. That work should take about five months. In the meantime, we will dig more wells.

HOST:
Why don’t you dig the pond deeper to collect more water?

FRANCIS:
If the pond is too deep, it is unsafe. People and animals could fall in. If it is too deep, then it is not easy for a person to save himself or herself. So we are afraid of deaths.

HOST:
What materials are used to build a well?

FRANCIS:
We use cement blocks to build a well. They are made of cement powder and sand. When we use these materials, the water stays in the well longer.

HOST:
How will you cover the expenses of building the wells?

FRANCIS:
We will organize a village meeting and explain the plan, the benefits, and how the villagers can help. We hope they will be ready because the idea of building wells came from them.

HOST:
When do you expect to start the project?

FRANCIS:
During harvest time, because we know that villagers will have money then. That will be about June to October of next year. The project can be completed in five months.

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HOST:
Dear listeners, I hope you have listened carefully to Costa Francis, the Chairman of the Talawanda village water committee, and I hope you have learned another way to provide water in places where there is a shortage of water. Please do not miss our next programme.

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Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Emmanuel and Lillian Manyuka, Radio Maria, Tanzania, a Farm Radio International radio partner.

Reviewed by: Alan Etherington, independent consultant in water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, and ex-WaterAid staff.

Information Sources

Interviews with the Village Water Committee leaders.