As you walk through picturesque Nandanga, a rural village in the Mbeya region of Tanzania, you are treated to the stunning scenery of a network of simple houses constructed from cow dung-reinforced walls and straw thatched roofs, as well as a range of foothills in the outskirts of the village that mark the borders between Tanzania and its’ closest Southwestern neighbors, Zambia and Malawi. The people are friendly, and the children are gleefully rolling discarded bicycle rims from farm to farm to pass the time. A quiet life in this quaint community doesn’t seem half bad, you may be thinking. However, as you walk deeper into the village, you start to see a different side of Nandanga. The happy children playing with simple toys give way to unhappy looking youth, kneeling in a hole, termed “short well” to capture stored rain water for use at home. There are other water sources in the village with a higher volume of water, but this water is stagnant, and is a milky, cloudy color.
You start to hope that surely there must be a river nearby, or a well where more pure water can be found. Unfortunately, not in this village. And upon further research, Nandanga’s lack of water is not an isolated incident in the Tanzania. In fact, as of 2015, 23 million people living in Tanzania lack access to a clean water source and about 19 million of those people are living in rural areas, in villages just like Nandanga. The graph on the right depicting the severity of this problem in Tanzania shows the population in Tanzania that live with and without an improved water source. Regrettably, the population living in water-stressed areas has doubled since 1990.