For about four years, the Boone Sunrise Rotary Club has been working on providing a renewable source of clean water to residents of the Kilimilile Ward in Bukoba, Tanzania, with the Rotary TAP (Tanzania Aqua Project). In early May, the Boone club received a $42,500 grant from the Rotary Foundation to fund the project.
Boone Sunrise Rotary Club member and Appalachian State University Jesse Lutabingwa has been working closely with the project since its inception, being from Bukoba, Tanzania, himself. In addition to grant writing, Lutabingwa has traveled to the Kilimilile community, which houses 13,433 people, to analyze the need firsthand.
According to the grant, waterborne illnesses that affect the community include diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal worms, skin infections and typhoid. Members of the Kilimilile Ward had previously been getting their water from a dirt pit that catches water.
“In this area, there is plenty of rain,” Lutabingwa said. “When it rains, there is a pit that catches water and that’s what people and animals use. So, the goal is to use water tanks and harvest rain water. These would be five very large water tanks, once they are full, that should last them through the dry season.”
The water tanks will be 60 square meters each, with the capacity to hold 90,0000 liters of rainwater, Lutabingwa said.
He expects construction on the tanks to begin in early June.
According to Lutabingwa, the water tanks will collect rainwater from the roofs and gutters of pre-existing buildings, such as churches and schools. The method is more sustainable than using wells, which have many parts that can break.
“This system is much more sustainable,” he said. “It won’t require a whole lot of fixing once the tanks are built, which is the problem of many water systems that have been done around the world, especially when you use wells.”
The Boone Sunrise Rotary Club has been working with the Rotary Club of Bukoba to coordinate the effort. To date, the Boone club has raised about $15,000 for the effort.
In addition to Lutabingwa, Boone Sunrise Club president Phil Muncy and Applachian State University Vice Chancellor for Advancement Susan Pettyjohn have played instrumental roles in the project, according to club officials.
Lutabingwa is associate vice chancellor of international education and development, director of international research and development and professor of government and justice studies at ASU.