January 6, 2015
By Simon Chambers
When PWRDF began its current project with the Diocese of Masasi in Tanzania, preliminary research showed that most illnesses and deaths in the area were linked to the lack of three simple things: enough healthy food, drinkable water, and trained health workers. PWRDF, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), has been working to address these three basic needs.
The Diocese of Masasi began training farmers in sustainable farming methods, including building up local farmers as certified seed producers. To date, over 2100 farmers have been trained in techniques that reduce their costs and produce a wider variety of crops to feed themselves and their families. Farmers in the seed production program give 20% of their crop back to the local seed bank each year, enabling more of their neighbours to benefit from the program the following year.
Water sources in the villages are now maintained by village water committees. People are being educated about the importance of keeping water sources clean to mitigate water borne diseases. Over 20,000 people now have access to potable water at 26 wells in 9 villages. Now people only have to walk an average of 2 km to get water compared to 8km before the project started.
Finally, PWRDF, through the Diocese of Masasi, has been training over 600 community health workers, traditional birth attendants, HIV/AIDS educators and caregivers. Having trained medical workers like these in the villages means that people are learning more about nutrition, hygiene, disease prevention, and care. Pregnant women are accompanied through the course of their pregnancy and beyond, helping to keep mothers and their babies alive. People living with HIV are learning to take their medications properly, and how to fight the disease through proper nutrition.
Simple needs. Simple solutions. Lives saved. It really is that simple.