Dawasa provides clean, safe water to MajiMatitu school

03Apr 2016
Bilham Kimati
Guardian On Sunday
Dawasa provides clean, safe water to MajiMatitu school

MAJI-MATITU is a primary school in Temeke district in Dar es Salaam that hit headlines in the recent past. The school drew media attention early this year after receiving 1,070 pupils for Standard One.

Pupils at Maji Matitu Primary School

The number of registered Std One pupils exceeds the recommended total of pupils to form a primary school with all seven classes. A school should accommodate at least 945 pupils but this one has 5,600 pupils equivalent to six schools together.

The head teacher of Maji-Matitu Primary School, Abdul Mgomi enumerates challenges facing the school community as including insufficient number of classrooms. There are 22 classrooms which cannot accommodate the pupils, pushing teachers to give lessons under the shade of trees.

“At the moment there are 22 classrooms and we expect to have in place 32 of them upon completion of the ongoing construction of 10 classrooms,” Mgomi explains.

Shortage of teachers poses another serious challenge such that the school, which requires 132 teachers has 77, thus facing a deficit of 65 school teachers.

“Insufficient supply of water remained the biggest challenge in this school. Pupils need water especially when visiting toilets,” he says.

“The grown up girls need water even more than others for sanitary reasons. We are extremely delighted and thankful to Dawasa for providing us a deep well in our compound.

The supply of water brings great relief to our daily requirements. At this school we have special needs pupils who equally need water,” he explains.

Daily demand for water by the school community stands at about 30,000 and 40,000 litres a day but the current supply from a different source does not exceed 8,000 litres a day.

Construction of additional pit latrines is equally of great necessity. The school with a population of 5,600 pupils requires up to 233 pits but it disposes only 36 at present, risking disease outbreaks.

“The (teachers) are pleased with a positive response and timely support by the community as admission of an exceedingly large number of pupils in January this year amplified the needs,” he explains.

However, limited space at the school compound pushed for widening the compound in another area for construction of classrooms.
Former Chief Secretary Marten Lumbanga in the neighbourhood offered three acres of his land freely for the construction of new school premises to accommodate the growing number of pupils.

While inspecting ongoing drilling of a deep well recently, a project sponsored by the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewage Authority (DAWASA), Project Supervisor Abel Chibelela says access to clean and safe water by the community was the fulfilment of the mission of Dawasa, always committed to reach out the people to their convenience.

“Dawasa took seriously the appeal by former Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Meck Sadiki to help provide water to Maji-Matitu primary school as it was already overburdened with a big number of pupils.

Two wells with the approximate depth of 140 metre deep will be ready shortly,” Chibelela explains.

”Each well costs about Tsh24 million. The other deep well will be dug up at the new site designated for another primary school, an extension of Maji-Matitu. We are pleased to see that the community enjoys a reliable supply of clean and safe water.”

Happiness George is a member of the Maji-Matitu school committee. She is concerned with day-to-day activities at the school. She says provision of water to the school community was of double advantage as the pupils would not be obliged to carry water containers every morning.

“The community will equally benefit from this water project as the school may decide to sell water to neighbouring families as a school income generating project,” Happiness explains Head of marketing at the Drilling and Dam Construction Agency (DDCA), Nungu Egwaga, said that before undertaking the project survey was conducted to decide the right location.

“The survey proved availability of water. But the actual quality and quantity of water available will be determined after repeated flash water testing. We are confident that the supply will be sufficient and the anticipated production of 40,000 litres a day will be met,” Egwaga underscored.

Dawasa is credited for initiating and supporting dozens of community water projects in Dar es Salaam, handed over to the community for management.

DAWASA Chief Executive Officer Eng Archard Mutalemwa says with completed expansion of the major water treatment plant of Lower Ruvu in Bagamoyo, the supply will be accessible to a greater number of the population.

“Expansion work of Lower Ruvu Water Treatment Plant has been completed 100 per cent. The supply will increase from the previous 182 million litres a day to 270 million litres a day. Obviously more people will have access to clean and safe water. New pipes of 1.8m diameter have been laid down to guarantee the supply,” he elaborates.

He also spoke about ongoing expansion of Upper Ruvu Water Treatment Plant whereby production increases from 92 million litres to 196 million litres a day.

New pipes are being laid to the ground in conjunction with construction of water clarifiers and water storage tanks.

Other sources of water include the ongoing 20 deep well drilling projects in Mpera, Kimbiji and Mtoni pump station close to the city. For a long time Dar es Salaam has experienced shortage in water supply as the volume received was 300 million litres a day while the estimated demand is 450 million litres a day.

With population growth in addition to expanded construction work, Dar es Salaam water authorities are committed to reach the target of 756 million litres a day to make sure that even places that never had the supply enjoy the service more conveniently.