10 Steps to Water at Pangaro

Clean water solutions are incredibly complex and require intense planning, organization, management, and fundraising. Here’s a brief primer on how we delivered on our promise of clean water in the village of Pangaro:

1. Acknowledge request from the community for a clean water source. After learning about the need, Empower Tanzania made a commitment to the people of Pangaro and asked that the community form a water committee.

Click on the photo to watch a video explaining the need.

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Water is Life (World Water Day 2017)








The  men and women we work with in Tanzania often tell us that “WATER IS LIFE.” They say this with a seriousness that is sometimes difficult for Westerners to comprehend due to our oft-taken-for-granted infrastructure. “MAJI NI UHAI,” one of our program managers, farmers, educators, or students might exclaim in Swahili. WATER IS LIFE. Too many Tanzanian women and children walk miles upon miles—spending a good portion of their day that could be devoted to work or school—collecting water that may or may not be clean. We take this challenge seriously and work hard to find sustainable solutions to this very basic human need at every level of our programming. Here’s a glimpse of what it all entails:

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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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Reaching for Water

Read here to learn about EMPOWER TANZANIA’S plans to bring clean water within the reach of thousands of rural Tanzanians…

by Sheri Krumm, Empower Tanzania Board Member and Clean Water Advocate

waterLKThe Reaching for Water Program was inspired in 2009 by a visit to the people of Katahe, a small Maasai village near the Pangani River in the Same District of northeast Tanzania. Katahe is a sub-village of Hedaru where Empower Tanzania had begun working on a water project. During our time in this village, we grew to know and love the strong, resilient people of the desert. Continue reading

Katahe Well Drilling Begins Soon!


Thanks to some very generous donations in 2014, Phase 1 of the Katahe Water Project is fully funded and about to begin!  This is a big victory for the people of this small Maasai village in northeastern Tanzania who have lived their whole lives with no water in the village.  They depend on the nearby Pangani River which is notorious for crocodiles and rock pythons, both capable of attacking children and eating small unsuspecting goats as they drink. To the people who live and raise animals in this dry desert, this well is an answer to a prayer. Continue reading

Water is LIFE

The village of Katahe understands the saying "Water is Life" more than most.

The village of Katahe understands the saying “Water is Life” more than most.

In the remote village of Katahe, in the NE part of Tanzania, everyone understands what this means.  The village is in a semi-arid area, and inhabited by both Maasai tribe, and Pare tribe. Continue reading

Reaching for Water


Reaching for Water
Helping to finish what they began


Empower Tanzania is empowering rural Tanzanians to finish water projects they began and abandoned for lack of resources.  Through this project, we are helping them bring water within reach of tens of thousands of people.

River water is barely fit to drink

River water is barely fit to drink


Access to clean, safe water is one of the most pressing needs in rural Tanzania. The impact to society when this need is not met is both dramatic and tragic.  The infant mortality rate in Tanzania is 11.8%, with 88% of these deaths due to waterborne and water-based diseases such as dysentery, typhoid, and cholera.  Other water issues include water scarcity and contamination of water sources.  Children are kept from school to walk for hours daily fetching water in buckets for the family, and women are regularly attacked and raped between their homes and water sources, which are often many miles away through remote areas.


Empower Tanzania believes that the failure to provide even the most basic water services to millions of people in Tanzania causes devastating human health and economic problems, and therefore is of primary concern in our programming.


Reaching for Water works with the Same and Mwanga District Governments, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Same to increase access to safe water.  We will do this by identifying projects where we can match our resources with what has already been done, but not completed, to allow water projects to finally reach their objectives…to deliver clean, safe water to people.


One example of the work we do is in the remote Maasai village of Katahe near the Pangani River.  The river, their only water source, is dangerously contaminated with disease, and home to many hippos, pythons and crocodiles that regularly attack and even kill the animals and people who come daily to use the water.

Children play near the Pangani River while their mother's do laundry

Children play near the Pangani River while their mothers do laundry


The District Government has invested money to drill a well, but lost its funding before the distribution system could be installed.  The well has been capped, leaving the clean and plentiful water just out of reach of the people who so desperately need it.


As part of the Reaching for Water project, Empower Tanzania will open the well, install a pump, and distribute the water for both animals and people. This system will radically alter life for the people who live in the area.  Its most dramatic impact will be on the health of the children and women, who bear the burden of finding the daily water. 

If you would like to support this project, you can click here to make a donation.  On behalf of many grateful people in Tanzania, we thank you for your support!

Why Do I Work on Water?

My name is Sheri, and I am known as Mama Maji (mama water) in the Kilimanjaro Region of NE Tanzania, because I have a passion for water projects.  I’m shameless in my requests to anyone who will listen, to help fund Empower Tanzania’s water projects. If I’ve never asked you for money, it’s only because I haven’t had a chance yet!

Finding funding to finance water projects is not easy.  Questions like ”who will take care of maintenance?” and “can’t you add more to it, like an agriculture project, to make it worth the investment?” are valid, and I do think about those questions a lot.  However, they completely miss the reason I do this work.

Safe water is a basic human need.

Two years ago, on my way home from visiting several project sites out in the bush in rural Tanzania, the group I was traveling with decided to stop at what appeared to be a random little village housing area.  We had just had a great day with a lot accomplished and much laughing and singing.  It was almost dark, and this stop wasn’t on the schedule.


I asked why we were stopping. They hesitated a little, and then said that a young girl had died, and we needed to visit the family. In Tanzania, it is hot, and bodies are not embalmed.  If you die on Monday, the visitation is Monday night and the funeral is Tuesday.  Most people die in their homes, and it is cultural for everyone to drop everything to go visit the family.  So we did.

The little girl was two, and she had died of diarrhea.  Somehow, she got hold of some un-boiled water, and was thirsty, so she took a drink.  That’s what 2-year olds do.  Her mother didn’t know how to treat it, so 24 hours later, she was sitting on the bed in the bedroom, wailing over the loss of her baby, surrounded by a village full of people who completely understood.  This is not uncommon.

I tried to imagine what my life would have been if my children had faced this kind of danger on a daily basis; if all our children in the U.S. faced this kind of daily danger. 


-Would it be a national emergency?
-Would it affect how much I allow myself to dream about my child’s future?
-Would I be able to love my child freely, knowing he could be snatched away at any moment?

I didn’t know this woman, or this child, but I held her hand and I cried.  I cried because of the ridiculousness of it all, and because I couldn’t imagine that I would be strong enough to do what these people do every day.

And then I committed, one more time, to keep working on finding clean water for these people, and teaching them to respond to waterborne disease when it strikes.  I do it, because that girl has a sister, and that sister doesn’t need to die.

22,000 People Learn About Safe Water!

In the first three months of the Improving Women’s Health Program, over 22,000 people in the Same District attended educational workshops on how to keep their water clean and safe!

IWHP Health Educator giving a presentation on how to keep their water safe and clean.

IWHP Health Educator giving a presentation on how to keep their water safe and clean.

At Empower Tanzania, we are pretty optimistic people, but this statistic blew us out of the water!  People are clearly excited to get some good solid information that will help keep their families safe and healthy.

Ms. Efrancia Nzoto, who manages the IWHP program in Tanzania

Ms. Efrancia Nzoto, who manages the IWHP program in Tanzania


Project Coordinator, Efrancia Nzota reports, “IWHP aims at reaching all the people of the Same District.  The main target is women, as we believe that “when you educate women, you educate the society.”  Same District, according to the 2012 Tanzania census has a total population of 269,807 people, with 138,292 of them women.  With this number of women, a lot can be done.  Improving Women’s Health Program basically provides health education; it started with safe and clean water, and is now doing hand washing training.  Next will be nutrition, and then others as we develop the curriculum.  Each subject is taught for 3 months.  Regarding the safe and clean water topic, we were able to meet 22,996 people, with 15,068 of them, or 65%, being women.  Within these women we found mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.  From an African perspective, women are the key to the households’ activities and from there we can also say they are key to household health.”


She goes on to say, “The Community Health Educators are amazing people to work with!  They know the community very well, but the most important thing is they have great influence in the community, and are very convincing.  I got a story from one Health Educator who was doing a presentation where an older man was very resistant to change.  He asked the question, ‘Madam, I have been here since my childhood and have now grown this old.  Why are you telling us to treat our water, while our fathers drank the same water for all these years and lived healthy lives?  I have never treated water, and I have lived long as well!”

The Health Educator answered, ‘Father, at that time, very few people lived here, and people really respected the water sources.  Nowadays, the population has grown, and people live near the water sources.  Agricultural activities are done with use of chemicals, and people direct their run-off water from washing, bathing and everything else they do towards the water source.  Some even do laundry in the water source.  Tell me if I’m lying!’

The old man answered, ‘You are very right, my child.  This new generation is no good.  Nowadays people are so different from our age.  I was lying to myself all these days, and from now on I will not drink the untreated water.  I will ask my wife to give me boiled water.  Thank you my child.’

From the visit the Health Educator made, she said everyone in the old man’s family was surprised, for no one had been able to change him before. What is more interesting is that I get this same story from many different Health Educators in many different areas.  Safe and clean water have been accepted by people so well, they are also responding well to the hand washing education now, as it is similar to the previous topic.”

Community Health Educators meet in small groups monthly for recognition, continuing education and to support each other in their work.

Community Health Educators meet in small groups monthly for recognition, continuing education and to support each other in their work.

Obviously, there is a lot to celebrate in this program!  We will continue to add new topics in basic healthy living every three months, with a goal to reach every women in the Same District with our message!