A global coalition led by Ohio State is working toward a unique goal with its Sustainable Village Water Systems Program: successfully fund and implement Sustainable Village Water Systems in 125 rural Tanzanian communities, and the government of Tanzania will fund an additional 5,000 communities using the same model.
Developed in 2015 by Ohio State’s Global Water Institute and the then Tanzanian Minister of Water and Irrigation, the challenge has now been endorsed by two additional ministries of the Republic of Tanzania–the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Government–in a Letter of Intent finalized Oct. 20.
The agreement originated in 2015 with an assessment of the highest priorities for solutions to rural water issues identified by the Tanzanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation. Currently, nearly 23 million people in rural Tanzania do not have consistent access to safe water and improved sanitation. Eager to partner with organizations that can both do projects in rural settings and integrate projects with research and education, ministry officials traveled to Ohio State in 2015 with partners from the University of Dodoma, Hecate Energy and WorldServe International to draw up the challenge.
The role of the government in setting requirements for the Sustainable Village Water Systems Program is key, says Marty Kress, Executive Director of the Global Water Institute. “The ministries help us make sure we’re really hitting the most critical needs of rural Tanzanians now and laying the groundwork for government investment and support of the systems in the future.”
The newly signed Letter of Intent includes signatures from the Permanent Secretaries of all three ministries which provides an added measure of durability to the agreement. “We are proud to partner in this collaborative effort that will put systems in place to provide clean water to rural areas in Tanzania,” said Gifty Ako-Adounvo, Assistant Vice Provost, Global Strategies and International Affairs at Ohio State. “This interdisciplinary project enables faculty and staff to share their expertise, supports community capacity building and confirms Ohio State’s commitment to ensuring a sustainable future.”
In addition to Ako-Adounvo, signatories for Ohio State include deans of the Colleges of Engineering and Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as well as the Provost and Senior Vice President for Research.
In parallel, the Global Water Institute has developed teaming agreements with over a dozen other organizations to execute the Sustainable Village Water Systems Program in the near future. The coalition is currently seeking major funding and will break ground on two pilot systems in 2017.