Changing Lives through Climate Resilience in TanzaniaAug 16, 2016
Approximately an hour’s drive outside of Singida, central Tanzania, a small community of less than 5,000 people struggle to make ends meet due to unreliable and unpredictable rainfall patterns caused by climate change. The village is Ulyampiti, a largely agro-based economy with few opportunities for alternative livelihoods. The land is fertile but due to lack of rain, it is now overgrazed, hard and becoming more and more difficult to sustain any kind of livelihood. More frequently in recent years, due to climate change, local villagers and even school children would have to travel up to 10km to find water, which, more often than not, made them sick as it is often contaminated.
In 2015, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Tanzania through the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) partnered with local NGO Tanzania Vulnerable’s Lighter (TVL) to implement a project that would harness the potential of solar power in Ulyampiti village to tap underground water in order to increase agricultural productivity for food and livelihood security. This innovative project facilitated the drilling of two boreholes in two sub-villages, Songoroji and Mwintunyo, and, using solar, extract water from over one hundred metres deep underground. As a result of the project, for the first time villagers in Ulyampiti have access to a reliable source of water that can be used throughout the year for agricultural and livestock activities as well as for household use. There is renewed hope in the village that through income-generating activities established by the project, villagers can finally start to escape the poverty trap that has characterised the area.
“I now spend less time collecting water so I am able to do other activities that improves the situation of my family,” said Mrs. Makilina Msaru ,a 30-year-old married women with children living in Mwintunyo village. “Before this project, I would walk ten kilometers to find water for my family but now it is less than five. It is still far but the water is clean and reliable.”
Another key output of this project was the construction of a large animal trough that would use water supplied from the borehole to provide a reliable source of water for farmers to bring their animals. This bring major benefits for all villagers as it eliminates the risk of the animals contaminating other water sources used by villagers.
To ensure long-term sustainability of the project, capacity building among the local villagers was also enhanced. This project sponsored village-level trainings on the use of solar, the concept of climate change and on energy efficient cooking stoves as a mitigation measure to reduce carbon emissions. As a result, villagers are now beginning to install low-cost energy-efficient stoves that saves time, money and produces less carbon as they are made aware of the important contribution that they can make to SDG 13 on climate change.
This project was implemented under the Capacity Development in The Energy Sector and Extractive Industries (CADESE) programme with support from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals of Tanzania. One of the key objectives of the project is to accelerate achievement of SDG 7 on Energy and the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative through a wider adoption of Rural Energy Technologies (RETs).