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Uhambingeto Water Project: Breaking the cycle of poverty

November 2, 2006

By Diana

Participants at the recent PWRDF Regional Meeting held in Fredericton, New Brunswick October 14-15 got to hear how through joint partnership and accompaniment we can break the cycle of poverty.

The Fredericton meeting focused on Africa. Zaida Bastos, PWRDF- Africa Development Coordinator, started the weekend with a reflection on the problem, causes and symptoms of poverty which led into a presentation of the Uhambingeto Water project.

PWRDF partner Christine Kilipamwambu, Development Officer for the Diocese of Ruaha in Tanzania, told the participants at the meeting of the work they are doing in the rural communities of Tanzania. Through the support of PWRDF, they were able to lift the community of Uhambingeto out of a daily cycle of poverty.

Back in 1993, Christine visited the community of Uhambingeto, as she walked door to door asking for water, not even one family in the community could offer her a glass of water because they simply did not have it.

The women of Uhambingeto had to walk 23 Kilometers to get water, “Imagine carrying a baby on your back and a 10 or 15 liter bucket or jerry can on your head and walking 23 kilometers everyday just for a sip of clean water?” explained Christine to the participants.

But today through the support of PWRDF, the community of Uhambingeto boosts of a clean water supply, a clinic, day care facilities and income generating projects. “This is the same village that had no water in 1993, but today when you go and as for water, you get a glass full,” said Christine.

Christine reminded participants that the story of the people of Uhambingeto would not have been told if it were not for the combined efforts and partnership of Canadian Anglicans and the people of Uhambingeto. “Combined efforts of others can become more than enough,” said Christine.

It should be noted that, “the Uhambingeto water project was a community initiated project,” said Christine. The villagers came to her and asked for financial resources to kick-start the project, “we do not have the financial resources, but we can offer ourselves, our hands to dig the trenches, to lay the pipes and mould the bricks,” said the villagers to Christine.

After ten-years, the Uhambingeto project is now a self-sustainable project. PWRDF and the Diocese of Ruaha ended their support two-years ago. “The community can continue on their own, they have opened up a water fund in the city of Iringa, some villagers have been trained as water technicians,” said Christine.
The Diocese of Ruaha has now started a new project in the village of Degenda. ” I hope that this too will have a good ending like the community of Uhambingeto,” said Christine.

In addition, Christine visited and preached in different parishes in the Diocese of Fredericton and in Georgetown Ontario where the parishes of St. Albans, Glen Williams, and St. Paul’s, Norval presented her with cheques in support of the new project in Degenda.

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