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In a country like Tanzania where up to 50 per cent of water points are broken or abandoned and where almost half of the population lacks access to clean water (WHO-UNICEF JMP), communities need cost efficient, locally adapted innovations that can help improve the reliability of water services and provide a more sustainable water infrastructure. Tanzanian NGO Maji Safi kwa Afya Bora Ifakara’s (MSABI) Pump4Life initiative is a low-cost marketbased solution designed to provide sustainable access to improved water services for communities living in Kilombero District, Morogoro Region.

The innovation pursues a social entrepreneurial approach in which communities are encouraged to take ownership of their water services by paying a regular financial premium for the service. This monthly subscription can be paid through mobile phone money transfer services, making it accessible to people in remote areas with no access to conventional banking. The water points are maintained by locally trained service mechanics and a digital surveillance-response system is used to monitor distribution and functionality, subscription payments, and track spare part usage and water point history. Local water point owners can call or text a service number to report problems, which are forwarded to the ICT platform for analysis and from there to a water point mechanic.

During the course of HDIF’s support:

  • 163 water points were set up and 39,203 users subscribed to the service.
  • 14 mechanics were trained and provided a regular service to the clients.
  • 7,851 maintenance visits have been performed at water points.
  • 3,496 monitoring visits were performed in three sequential rounds where the same water points were revisited (Round 1 – 1,167 water points, Round 2 – 1,162 water points and Round 3 – 1,167 water
    points).
  • 163 new and rehabilitated water points were built, 22 of which were partially supported through a co-contribution from iWASH and Nestlé. All quality assurance data has been digitally tracked and include technical specifications, user information and water quality data.
  • 33 broken or abandoned water points were fixed, providing a further 8,250 people with access to water.
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