Water Party 2017 Success!

On November 11th, 500 people  gathered in downtown Davenport for the 9th annual Water Party, an event that for the third year in a row has benefited Empower Tanzania water projects. It was an incredible night of music, wine, beer, an whiskey tasting, small bites by a favorite local chef, music, and friends. Partygoers bought raffle tickets, tried their hand on the wine pull, shopped for Tanzanian jewelry, and bid on silent auction items and art. Through their incredible generosity, Water Party 2018 raised over $58,000 for clean water in Tanzania!!! Our efforts will focus on the village of Njiro. We are so thankful to all who made the party happen, attended the event, and donated so generously!

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Training Begins!

Drillers, water technicians, citizens from the Same and Mwanga districts, and representatives from the Pangani Water Board Authority gathered earlier this summer to learn about drilling viable wells.

Empower Tanzania, the Ames Rotary Club, and Rewerts Drilling Company were able to bring in several Iowan drillers to conduct a seminar. The seminar centered around basic drilling techniques that are not common in dry areas of Tanzania. Over 25 people from all different locations and backgrounds were there for the two-day seminar led by Iowa driller and Empower Tanzania volunteer Justin Rewerts.

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Gunge Safi COMPLETE!

Great news from Gunge!!!  The irrigation project is finished, the water is flowing to the fields, and we came in under budget, thanks to the hard work of many people from Gunge and surrounding villages, our contractor, Mr. Manase, and the fabulous work of the leaders of Gunge along with ETI staff Elias Leasa and Elibariki Kisimbo.

looking down the newly constructed canal walls towards the intake and the Pangani River

Look at all those gabions full of stone!! Good night, that is a lot of work. I cannot see a hippo or crocodile knocking down our new intake, however!

A delegation from ETI visited Tanzania in November, and was able to participate in a huge celebration of the finished project!  There was singing & dancing, a lot of recognition for the work that the many different groups did to make the project possible, and even a visit by the Same District Commissioner to encourage the people and applaud their success.

In spite of the heat, the entire village of Gunge turned out to celebrate the completion of the water project. In the yellow shirt is Clement Ngoka, the local project manager during construction.

The ETI delegation was greeted with singing, dancing and a brass band!

A tent was set up in front of the local church to protect visitors from the harsh sun during the presentation of awards and recognition.

There were many hands that made this project possible, but at the end of the day, it was the volunteer labor that was most appreciated, and the leaders of Gunge and the nearby village of Mabilioni who helped keep the project organized and going. Without these people, it wouldn’t have happened.

Finally, we owe a debt of gratitude to ETI Intern Elias Leasa.  A recent college graduate in Business Administration, he enthusiastically took on the management of this project for ETI, and did an amazing job.  His willingness to work tirelessly to make it successful was a real mark of his character, and we feel very lucky to have this young man working with us!

ETI Intern Elias Leasa


Gunge Safi Construction Pics

When you spend many months, and sometimes even a year or more planning, researching and preparing to begin a project, there is nothing quite like the high of watching it actually HAPPENING!  Gunge Safi is doing that for us right now.

Enjoy the latest round of pictures taken at the job site this week!  One of the key values of ETI is that we work in partnership with Tanzanians, and this is a beautiful example.  We have a couple of paid technicians, and a paid foreman, but everyone else you see in these pictures is donating MANY hours of their time to make this happen, and it creates a huge sense of ownership in the project.


In anticipation of the project beginning, villagers have spent weeks collecting stones from a location about 5 miles away, which are now ready to be transported to the site


Loading up the stones by hand into the truck for transport to the site


Stones being offloaded at the site of the intake construction


The stones have arrived, and the villagers begin work preparing the river bank for the gabion baskets


Despite the difficulty of the work, all the villagers are encouraged to come and help.


Technicians making gabion baskets


Technicians and Gunge villagers ready to do canal repair


Construction beginning in the canal


The water was dammed up temporarily to repair the failed wall. In the top left of the picture, you can see where the gabions will be placed


There was a lot of damage to the existing canal


reconstruction of the failed canal wall


Admiring their work


Excited about a beautiful job!


Already, the water level to the fields is beginning to rise


The gabion stones inside the wire cages cannot be destroyed by floods, hippos, or crocodiles.


The beginning of the gabion wall is in place

Gunge Safi Update

The Gunge Safi Project is ready for construction!  With the rainy season beginning in November, it is time for Manase Construction and the people of Gunge, Tanzania, to begin work building the structure that will capture water and bring it to the 800 acres that feeds these people.

The makeshift intake area in the Pangani River near Gunge

In anticipation of a signed contract, the people have already been traveling to a nearby area to gather large stones to use.  They will then transport them to Gunge, where they will go in large 1 meter x 2 meter baskets called gabions, placed like a wall in the river.  When the gabions are stacked two high, they will effectively divert a portion of the water into a canal, and send it to the fields.

A gabion wall, very much like what will be built at Gunge

This is difficult and dangerous work for the volunteers.  It requires spending long hours swimming in a river with a fast current, in cold weather, and with occasional crocodiles and hippos.  In addition, there will be crews of volunteers on the ground, passing the large stones along like sandbags to the river.

You might ask, “why are these people so willing to do this for no pay?”  The answer lies in this man.

The last of the original settlers of Gunge came here is a boy


He is the last of the original families that settled Gunge in the 30’s to escape being drafted into Hitler’s army to fight the British in this part of Tanzania.  These families escaped in the night to save their lives, and Gunge became a place for refugees for many years.  Sadly, little development has ever been done there.  These people have built what they have with their own hands, and are some of the most resourceful and hard working people we’ve ever met.  When we heard their story, we were moved to action, and we hope you will be too.

The construction is expected to last approximately 6-8 weeks, and is still short $3,000 in funds.  If you would like to support this project so we can finish by November 1, go to the “donate” page to make a donation.

Thank you for your generosity!

Gunge Safi Update

The very rural village of Gunge has been waiting a long time for water.

Gunge village, NE Tanzania

Since the 1930’s.

During WWII, the German army “drafted” Tanzanians to fight the British, and many of the Tanzanian men in this area were forced into service.  One small group escaped with their families one night and fled into the desert…settling in the place now called Gunge.  Later, it became a place for refugees from many parts of Africa to settle, and has been a tight-knit community ever since.

Gunge is located near the Pangani River, so the people of the village have dug many miles of  irrigation canal, and created an 800-acre field which they share as a community to grow food.  Unfortunately, the intake into their irrigation canal is under constant attack by not only flood waters during the rainy season, but also the resident hippos and crocodiles moving around at night.



The intake at Gunge, soon to be rehabilitated

In ETI’s newest water project, called the Gunge Safi Project, the intake will be reconstructed with gabion stones in wire mesh baskets to shore up the bank, and improve the flow of water to the fields.  In a recent visit by board member Sheri Krumm, final plans were made with the village leadership, a contractor was hired, and everyone agreed on that a contract will be signed in July, and work will begin as soon as possible.

Gunge village chairman


Once the water is flowing to the fields, the next step will be to bring drinking water to the village, either by well or via pipes and pumps from the river.  This will be the first time since the formation of the village that there will be fresh water for household use and human consumption less than a mile from the village, and accessible without danger of crocodile attacks.

We continue to fund-raise for this project, so if you are inspired, go to the Donate page, and help us any way you can.  Your generous support is what makes projects like this possible.