Cattle trough transforms pastoralist community
The Pangani Basin Water Office and IUCN through the Global Water Initiative, have supported the construction of a cattle trough in Ruvu, Same district which is in an extremely dry area of Tanzania where the majority of the population are pastoralists.
Onesmo Zakaria, with the IUCN Pangani Project Office interviewed seventy year old, Maasai elder, Mzee Laisi Mkaine. Mkaine is thankful to the donor and the partners involved in implementing the GWI Program, he thanked the donor and implementing partner for their commitment to fulfill an important priority for the community – “I have seen a huge difference between this new cattle trough and our traditional troughs”.
Mkaine mentions three major differences between traditional troughs and the new GWI aided cattle trough, “our traditional troughs can only take 10 cows per phase, it takes a lot of time for communities to re-dig after rain comes and furthermore it jeopardizes lives of animals and headmen mostly youth (Morans) when it often collapses. We can see for ourselves that the new trough can serve 100 cattle per phase and is free from other hazards I mentioned”.
Mzee Mkaine is very optimistic of the sustainability of the trough, “I have once visited Mkandi in Mnazi, Lushoto district where I witnessed a cattle trough which was constructed way back in 1965 and it is still intact and serves the purpose as ever before despite some small challenges such as increased number of animals”.
In a closing remark, Mkaine calls upon the implementers of the initiative and other actors to find a way of helping the community to replace the hand pump with appropriate technology that can fill the already constructed tank to acquire fruitful objectives of the trough. He says, “We were promised by the district about the installment of the pump that will go concurrently with the construction of the dipping trough in the vicinity. However, the community has learned that the trough will be ready before the construction of the dipping trough and the pump installation. As a result we have mobilized ourselves so each pastoralist contributes TShs 5,000 (700,000 already in custody) to install the pump”. This financial input shows continued commitment from the community. Along with Mzee Mkaine the community at Ruvu Jiungeni (Kombo Sub) Village proposes the construction of a windmill to pump water from a nearby borehole which will have a minimum running cost.
The Global Water Initiative (GWI) is funded by Howard G. Buffet Foundation and has the aim of ‘ensuring that vulnerable populations world-wide have reliable access to clean water in such a way that their dignity, rights, culture and natural environment are not negatively impacted’. In Tanzania, the GWI partnership consists of CARE, Catholic Relief Services and IUCN. Story by Onesmo Zakaria (IUCN, 2009)
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