According to the World Bank, tens of thousands of Tanzanians – including over 18,000 young children – die every year from diarrheal disease. Most of these deaths can be linked to unclean water and poor sanitation. Despite continued development gains, over 23 million people in Tanzania lack access to clean water and almost twice this number do not use improved sanitation facilities.
In response, the USAID/Tanzania Water Resources Integration Development Initiative (WARIDI), led by Tetra Tech, is working to meet aggressive targets for extending access to clean water and improved sanitation for hard-to-reach communities in rural and peri-urban areas of Tanzania. Resonance is supporting WARIDI by defining avenues for the project to work with private companies to make its water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions more scalable, innovative, and sustainable.
Resonance has recently designed and launched five strategic partnerships spanning a range of WASH challenges in Tanzania. These include: water and sanitation financing, affordable sanitation products, innovative water treatment opportunities, community behavior change and WASH communications, and management of village water delivery systems. Each partnership seeks to improve WASH delivery in Tanzania by harnessing private sector resources – technologies, expertise, co-finance, and innovation – to create a solution that could potentially extend and expand beyond the five-year WARIDI project. Throughout, Resonance, WARIDI, and private sector partners are engaging local government and community-level actors to ensure local ownership over private sector solutions, to enhance long-term sustainability.
Over the next year, WARIDI and its private sector and NGO partners will test strategies that provide improved water and sanitation services to tens of thousands of people in Tanzania. The first five strategic partnerships on WARIDI include:
A Japanese water, housing, and building company that owns global brands such as American Standard, GROHE, and INAX, LIXIL has been working to tackle the challenge of marketing quality toilet products to some of the world’s poorest communities. It has developed a product line – called SATO (“Safe Toilet”) – for quality improved latrines that sell for about USD $3.50-$5.00 in developing markets. SATO latrines are affordable and good quality, and they vastly improve user comfort and hygiene for basic pit latrines.
WARIDI is working with LIXIL to support distribution of SATO latrines in the rural and peri-urban areas served by the project, drawing on WARIDI’s connections to communities and village microenterprises. In the first months of the partnership, over 2,700 SATO latrines have been sold in WARIDI areas.
Medentech is an Irish company that manufactures Aquatabs, which is an internationally recognized, highly effective, and affordable water treatment (chlorination) product. Aquatabs is known mainly as a “point of use” water treatment option – used mainly for water treatment by households or relief agencies. However, Medentech has been developing two Aquatab products that can treat water at “point of collection” for institutions (such as schools or hospitals) or entire village water systems serving thousands of people.
WARIDI has partnered with Medentech and Tanzanian community water authorities, to pilot two solutions – Aquatabs Flo and Aquatabs In Line. We expect to provide clean, safe water to over 13,000 people in the pilot phase alone. WARIDI and Medentech will design, launch, and monitor the pilots, and depending on pilot success, will scale the solutions to other communities, hopefully providing an affordable and effective means to treat village water systems. Importantly, the partners will work to enhance distribution channels for the Aquatabs products in Tanzania, so that communities can continue to affordably and easily treat their water beyond the involvement of the WARIDI project.
For WASH businesses, households, and the utilities that manage water delivery systems, accessing affordable finance for water and sanitation investments is a serious challenge. Water.org is an international NGO focused on unlocking finance for improved water and sanitation, in partnership with local banks and financial institutions. Water.org is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that has empowered over 12.5 million people worldwide with access to safe water and sanitation through affordable financing. Water.org partners and/or collaborates with local financial institutions (FIs), governments, and other local and international stakeholders to facilitate an enabling environment for private financing and lending for water supply and sanitation to provide affordable financing options.
WARIDI and Water.org are designing and testing financing solutions for microenterprises, to help small water and sanitation businesses grow, as well as the community and local government water authorities that manage water delivery systems (called Community Owned Water Supply Organizations, or COWSOs, in rural areas). For COWSOs, improved access to finance can support needed investments in maintaining, expanding, or improving water infrastructure, thereby extending and protecting water access for communities.
Viamo (formerly called VOTO Mobile) is a global social enterprise that specializes in mobile engagement. Viamo uses simple, low-cost technology for data collection and to provide public service information using mobile phones. Viamo uses mobile technology to expand access to information in landscapes where technology infrastructure is poor, populations are divided by language diversity, and where education and literacy levels are low.
Viamo recently launched its 3-2-1 Service in Tanzania. The service includes free access to a call-in menu with interactive voice and SMS messages on a range of topics, such as agriculture, weather, and health. Since its launch in December 2017, more than 419,359 unique subscribers have accessed the 3-2-1 Service in Tanzania, listening to over 328,720 key messages. The service had over 178,000 unique callers in its first month, and 44% of callers are repeat listeners.
WARIDI will be working with Viamo to develop a new WASH channel for the platform – with messages, information, and resources related to improved sanitation and hygiene.
In Tanzania – and across Sub-Saharan Africa – a significant percentage of the water that is processed by a water system is classified as “non-revenue water.” This is water that is lost due to leaks, faulty pipes, illegal use, or inefficient revenue collection. In rural Tanzania, this often means that community water authorities do not collect enough revenue to maintain or improve water infrastructure or ensure consistent water access to the communities they serve.
WARIDI is partnering with eWATERpay to pilot a smart meter technology that allows community members to pre-pay for water at village water points. For village water points, the eWATERpay technology ensures that all water revenue is tracked, accountable, and transparently used by water authorities to pay for needed maintenance and improvements to the water system. The eWATERpay technology allows community members to pre-pay for water through mobile money or cash and use their water credit – loaded onto their household’s eWATERpay tag – to access water at the tap. Water credit can also be purchased and shared by government (to schools, health clinics) or urban diaspora (to family). eWATERpay also provides water authorities with a digital dashboard that captures and processes huge volumes of real-time data on liters of water sold, revenue collected, number of users at each water point, and any detected leaks or malfunctions in the water system.
WARIDI and eWATERpay are starting with pilots in four villages, initially serving about 23,000 people. If this initiative is successful, the partnership could enhance the operations and maintenance of water systems, significantly increase water revenue collection and create jobs for youth and women as sales agents, installers and technicians. eWATERpay recently won the 2018 Global Mobile Award for “Outstanding Mobile Contribution to the UN SDGs,” at the GSMA Mobile World Congress.
The eWATERpay system builds the capacity – in terms of reduced costs, enhanced revenues, and improved information related to the functionality of water systems – of COWSOs to effectively manage community water supply. While WARIDI and eWATERpay are co-financing the initial pilot installations, COWSO clients will pay a monthly fee, based on local water revenues, to maintain the service. In this way, the WARIDI-eWATERpay partnership will promote, test, and scale a tool that enhances the management and self-reliance of community water authorities, enhancing local ownership and improved service quality beyond WARIDI.