Jake Belvin MSABI Photo Series - Week 1 Water

Late 2012 we were fortunate to have a professional photographer volunteer his time in the field with MSABI.  I would like to thank Mr Jake Belvin for his time, and I am sure you will agree his work is amazing.  Please visit his website and see more interesting photos on his blog.   http://www.jakebelvin.com/about.html

I often think how can we inform our friends and followers what it is really like in the field with MSABI.  We are doing so many activities and such fantastic work - however I feel that it is very difficult for people to understand or appreciate what is really going on!

We have 65 great local staff who work over a large and remote rural valley - 30,000 hectares, more than 150km long and 75km wide - with only 1 main road passing down the length of the valley!  Much of our work is done off-road using bicycles and motorbikes. We have no project car!  For example, our education teams have reached 190,000 people in under 2-years - all by foot or bicycle!!!!

I hope you enjoy these photos and I trust they tell a story that words struggle to achieve.
I will spread the photos out over a series of blog posts.  The first theme is water.

The MSABI rope pump.  The rope moves around the wheel and down the borehole.  The rope returns up a 3/4" riser pipe.  Every metre there is a rubber piston of the same diameter as the riser pipe.  This circular motion lifts water to the surface.  The pump is made using all locally available materials.  The main wear part is the rope and is easily fixed.  All pumps break!!!  So focus on repair-ability is very important for isolated communities.

An MSABI water point is drilled to 28m by hand.  We drill this deep to access cleaner aquifer water.  We install a cement sanitary seal within a clay layer to separate the polluted shallow aquifer water.  MSABI drillers have drilled a combined total of depth of 5,117 meters since drilling their first borehole back in August 2009.  Think about that - when was the last time you walked/jogged 5km, and then imagine drilling that by hand vertically down!
MSABI uses locally fabricated rope pumps - creating local jobs.  The rope pumps only costs $100!  Compare that to a typical foreign hand pump that costs $1500.  The rope pump is very simple and easy to repair - something foreign pumps are not - hence a major reason why there are more than 50,000 abandoned hand pumps in sub-saharan Africa!  I think you will agree the use of the rope pump is a no brainer!!!!
Women and children are mainly responsible for collection of water for the family home.  Improving access to safe water reduces time spent collecting water - meaning more time for school or free activities in the home.
Children carrying 10L buckets on their heads stop for a smile.

A standard 20 Liter bucket is placed on the head and carried home.  I am not aware of any studies evaluating the impact on spinal/neck problems with African women - but I am sure that such a study would reveal some serious problems.

MSABI pump -circular motion.  MSABI has installed over 250 water points for community members of the Kilombero Valley.  That is safe water for more than 55,000 people - a coverage of 10% of the total valley population in under 4 years.
MSABI has been working with schools for the past 4 years.  We have installed new safe water points for over 30 schools within the district.

Children are the future of Tanzania.  A good education is highly valued in Tanzania, yet hard to get!  Having safe water means less time sick or battling continual health problems such as intestinal worms.
This is a typical rural open well.  In 2010 MSABI surveyed over 1,200 water points across the Kilombero Valley.  The findings were disturbing.  75% of all water points were either shallow open wells or streams/rivers.  The average depth of an open well was 4.5m.  Recent water quality research by MSABI in 2013 has found that such open wells on average have contamination that is an order of 2x magnitude higher compared to closed boreholes like MSABI.  (Closed borehole mean E .coli 9 cfu.100 mL-1  compared to open wells 4317 cfu.100 mL-1
Over 2012 MSABI has been working with very remote Masai communities.  They are underserved and vulnerable to diarheal diseases as they traditionally take water from shallow dug wells (such as above) or seasonal streams .  These wells are often shared with their cattle/sheep/goat herds.  Further, in the dry season many open wells become dry and the Masai often have to walk hours each day to collect water - of which the quality is disgusting!!!  Now such communities are banding together and purchasing their on permanent and safe water point.
An important aspect of our work is training water point owners on how to maintain and repair their water points.  Above, MSABI field officer Santiago Seleman teaches a Masai elder about the guide block.  The guide block (pictured) is how the rope turns around at the bottom of the borehole.  You can see a piston on the rope - it then turns around the ceramic guide (electricity insulator), picking up water as it returns up the rising main (3/4" PVC pipe).

This is the riser main pulled out of the borehole.  The Masai are learning how to change a rope.  You can appreciate the depth of the borehole (the pipe extends to the furthest bush) - all drilled by hand!

A young Masai gives a helping hand at MSABI training

The MSABI riser main goes back into the borehole

I have found the Masai to be proud, happy, honest, respectful and appreciative.

Pumping MSABI water for the first time!

A permanent water source close to home - a vast improvement to seasonal hand dug wells!  This community were walking 2 km in the dry season to access dirty water shared by cattle and other stock.
Learning how to pump MSABI water

A Masai mother multi-tasking.

MSABI works with the community and our supporting donors.  MSABI pioneered a demand-led approach, whereby the community must decide if they want a water point and how they will manage and afford it.  They then approach MSABI with a request and if approved they contribute money, materials and labour which constitutes around 1.3rd the total cost.  Donors, such as AusAid provide subsidy for the total cost of the water point.  If you would like your own water point with your name inscribed - you can donate $2,200 and it will happen!!!

MSABI pioneered the development of a 10-point quality assurance program for all our water points.  Part of this includes water quality testing.  Pictured we have Novatus Mwangeta (L) and Dr Jacqui Thomas (R).  Dr Jacqui has been volunteering with MSABI to help train and capacitate our local team on water quality testing, analysis and research design/planning/implementation.

MSABI lab technician Novatus Mwangeta analyzing water samples in the Ifakara Health Institute laboratory
MSABI is actively undertaking a region wide water quality research program to evaluate seasonal quality of water from different water sources.  Pictured are plates indicating bacterial contamination.  Depending on color, each dot represents a potentially harmful fecal coliform or ecoli bacteria.