With a population exceeding 10,000, Nyankanga ward in Musoma District faces acute shortage of water, a situation that forces its people especially women and children to walk long distance in search of water.
The nearest constant supply of safe water is Lake Victoria, which is an over two-hour round trip from Nyankanga village. Some villagers routinely make this trip three or four times a day, every day, which leaves very little time for other tasks.
The efforts by St John’s Church to build tanks by their homes to harvest rainwater could not yield fruits as the village gets scanty rainfall.
Source: Beldina Nyakeke, The Citizen / allAfrica.com, 7 March 2011
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Degradation of the environment is reaching alarming levels in Nkaya in southern Malawi, where people have to walk ever greater distances to collect firewood and water. Mayi Chambo, a village head in Nkaya, blamed charcoal makers for the deforestation. “”Women have to travel over 15 kilometres to Rivirivi River to fetch water. Once we had boreholes, but they have broken down”.
“In the 1980s we had lush forests here. The rains used to come in time, the soil was fertile and water was not a problem. It was after 1994 when we started experiencing problems that have to do with the environment. People from other areas began settling here in search for fertile soil and products from our forests.
“Soon the trees started to disappear – people wanted rafters for their newly built houses [and] fuel wood [and they] began to clear forests for new fields.
“The demand for charcoal in towns has also worsened matters here. People [...] are lured by the money they generate from selling charcoal in the cities, especially in Blantyre [Malawi's second city]. But should we let these people destroy everything because of a bag of charcoal that costs K500 (US$3.57) only? That is not acceptable.
“Women have to travel over 15 kilometres to Rivirivi River to fetch water. Once we had boreholes, but they have broken down. It is not safe for women with babies tied to their backs, walking long distances to fetch water and firewood – there are so many dangers, such as wild animals and robbers.
“All we are asking for now are boreholes or piped water. Government can connect us to the national grid so we can have safe water as well. The water that we drink is not safe because we fetch it from unprotected sources; cattle and other animals drink from the same sources.
“The government has since put the responsibility of looking after forests in our hands; we now fine everyone we find cutting down trees carelessly. It is not easy to deal with people who are burning charcoal, though – they can be dangerous.
[...] “We have destroyed a lot in a short period of time and we are paying heavily for that.”
This story is part of IRIN’s Hear our Voices series.
Source: IRIN, Sep 2009
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has said the scarcity of water sources in Kamuli district has led to many women being divorced and beaten by their husbands. Kadaga said women walked long distances to collect water, and when they delayed, their husbands beat them because they suspected that they were having affairs. She said the problem was common in Buyende sub-county. [...] She made the remarks at a meeting with officials from the World Malayalee Council, an Indian NGO, led by its Africa regional chairman, Chacko Babu, [...] at Parliament. “Kamuli has 18 sub-counties and over 100 parishes but there are cases where four villages share one water source and others do not have,” Kadaga said.
Babu, also the vice-chairperson of the Indian Association of Uganda, said his NGO was assessing the water situation in the district to construct more water sources. He said he met with investors in India who were interested in building a modern health centre in the district.
Source: Donald Kiirya, New Vision / allAfrica.com, 17 May 2009