A research internship in the Women Water Watch project

By Gianella Jiménez, Student IOB-University of Antwerp

The Institute of Development Policy (IOB) and Mzumbe University joined forces to do fieldwork research in Bagamoyo-Tanzania.  As a current international student in the advanced master in Development, Evaluation, and Management in IOB, I found myself enthusiastic to apply to do a research internship in data collection using drawings to gather information about children’s perceptions of water scarcity in villages in Bagamoyo-Tanzania from 18th November 2022 until December 26th 2022. The research internship was conducted under the supervision of Prof. Nathalie Holvoet and Dr. Sara Dewachter from IOB, and Dr. Cristina Shitima of Mzumbe University.

Photo: Miembesaba students taken 22-11-22

Once I arrived, preparation for the activities started on Sunday Nov 20th, early in the morning in Bagamoyo, I remembered going to town to buy some pens, speakers, and materials for the activities in the school. We also bought some food to prepare our meals. In the afternoon, we started the dialogue to organize final details and give each one a task for the fieldwork. The team which was made up of Mzumbe previous students, and the women monitors in Bagamoyo, the teachers from the schools, and myself. All the information about the activity was explained by Eliya Lushiku who was the team leader from Mzumbe University. Then, we practiced playing the water games and organized activities for the next days in the schools.

Photo: Meeting with Mzumbe team, teachers, and women monitors taken the 20-11-22
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Murals…A magic bullet for children’s awareness for on water safety?

By Rajab Mgonja, Frida Sanga, Sara Dewachter, Nathalie Holvoet

In a bid to keep encouraging Citizen Science for co-creation of water knowledge in the picturesque coastal town  Bagamoyo, Tanzania, the Women Water Watch (WWW) project recently embarked on a captivating initiative, bringing together art, education, and community engagement. 

From June 28, 2023, to July 5, 2023, the Women Water Watch project undertook the task of creating educational murals in eight primary schools across the region. This endeavor was aimed at not only increasing awareness among children about clean and safe water but also emphasizing the importance of proper handwashing practices. 

To do so, the project invited the nineteen wWw monitors and one local artist to gather in the Kaole Conference hall at the Twins Park Hotel, Bagamoyo Tanzania to jointly brainstorm. 

Photo: Women Monitors with the local artist ready to discuss the mural activity for schools
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Citizen Science in Tanzania … the new magic bullet?

On the 9th of February, IOB (UAntwerp), Mzumbe University and the Embassy of Belgium in Tanzania jointly organised a seminar exploring  “CITIZEN SCIENCE IN TANZANIA …THE NEW MAGIC BULLET?”.

Some eighty participants from 10 different countries from (inter) national civil society, academia, government and citizen monitors participated in the seminar.

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Wanake Maji Salama (swahili version)

Wanawake 20 … wakiwa wamevalia tshirts zao za bluu za wWw … wakiwa kwenye jumba la nyasi la mnazi huko Bagamoyo…

“Wanawake Maji Salama!” … “Wanawake Maji Salama!” * *women water safe

Photo: two Women Water Watch (wWw) women monitors practicing with their phone

Kelele za shauku zilisikika ukumbini. Ni siku ya kwanza ya mafunzo ya ufuatiliaji wa maji ya women Water watch kwa simu ya mkononi. Umati wa watu wenye shauku huleta watangazaji wachangamfu. Baada ya utambulisho wa Cretus (AFO) na utambulisho wa hisani na wa kutia moyo kutoka kwa Afisa Maendeleo ya Jamii wa kata, Doreen (Chuo Kikuu cha Mzumbe) unawaalika wanawake kufikiria juu ya umuhimu wa maji … kwa afya zao, afya ya watoto wao, kwa uchumi. na mazingira. Baada ya kujadili umuhimu wa maji ya kutosha, ya kuaminika, yanayofikiwa na salama, wanawake wanatambulishwa kwa chombo cha ufuatiliaji kilichoundwa kupitia jukwaa la maji. Jana usiku, timu za wanawake – wanawake wanne kwa kila kijiji- walipewa simu za mkononi kwa ajili ya kufuatilia vyanzo vya maji katika kijiji chao. Baada ya matatizo ya kiufundi yanayoweza kuepukika (kuunda akaunti, nenosiri, mipangilio ya faragha, mkopo wa simu, …) simu zinafanya kazi, wanawake wako tayari kuitumia na fomu ya ufuatiliaji iko tayari kutumika.

 

Photo: mobile data entry training

 

Mchana, timu za ufuatiliaji wa wanawake hufanya mazoezi ya kupima maji. Kusafisha mikono, kuchukua sampuli ya maji kutoka kwenye chanzo cha maji, kuchukua sampuli ya 1 ml kuweka kwenye sahani kavu, kuongeza substrate kwenye sampuli ya maji na kufanya ‘kuzungusha’ na kuandika mahali, tarehe na jina la maji. chanzo… tunafanya mazoezi kwanza kwa nadharia kwa kupitia hatua zote pamoja. Baadaye, timu zilitoka kuelekea kwenye vituo vya maji na vyanzo vya maji vilivyo karibu kufanya mazoezi ya upimaji. Kila timu ya kijiji ilifanya mazoezi ya kufanya hatua tofauti za upimaji wa maji. Wachunguzi wote wa wanawake walijitolea sana na kwa usahihi katika kufanya hatua tofauti za vipimo vya maji.

 

Photo: Women monitors practicing the water quality test

Tuliporudi kwenye jumba la mafunzo, tulikaribishwa na midundo na uimbaji wa kikundi cha ngoma. Bagamoyo ni maarufu kwa tasnia yake ya muziki na kitamaduni. Kundi la wanaume na wanawake walitumia ngoma, na hata koleo na uma, kufanya mapigo yadume. Uchezaji wao ulikuwa wa kustaajabisha na wa kukaribisha, kwa hivyo wachunguzi wa saa za maji na timu za wanawake zilianza kujiunga na densi.

Siku iliyofuata, tulianza tena siku na muziki. Wanawake hao kwanza walitambulishwa wimbo wa maji (the water song Mwaji), wimbo uliotengenezwa na timu ya wanafunzi wa Mzumbe kwa ajili ya kuwafundisha watoto wadogo umuhimu wa maji kwa afya. Kuimba na kucheza kulitufanya tujisikie macho na tayari kuendelea na masuala ya kiufundi zaidi ya siku hiyo: kufanya mazoezi ya kukusanya takwimu, kusoma matokeo ya maji na kujiandaa kwa mikutano ya kijiji. Hivi ni mikutano ambayo kijiji kizima kinakaribishwa kuja kuwasikiliza wafuatiliaji kuwasilisha majibu ya vipimo vyao na kueleza nini maana yake na jinsi maji yanavyoweza kutibiwa ili kuepuka uchafuzi.

Hatimaye, mafunzo yalifungwa na sherehe ya cheti. Kila mfuatiliaji alipokea kitambulisho chao cha ufuatiliaji cha Women Water Watch na cheti cha mafunzo. Hakika ilistahili sana !

 

Photo: Twenty women monitors received their certificate after a successful training

Wanawake maji Salama!

by Nathalie Holvoet, Sara Dewachter, Doreen Kyando, Cretus Joseph, Elija Lushiku, Ezekiel Blasio, Monicah Ngao, Leah Mahenge, Marco Mashauri, Atujuani Mikidadi, Neema Isaka, Nuru Nasoro, Silasudi Said, Roda Lameck, Amina Salum, Josephine Edward, Zaituni Mohamed, Hawa Adamu, Rehema Goko, Khadija Ally, Fatuma Ally, Modesta Peter Dongola, Husna Ramadhani, Rosa Malima Chidaha, Tatu Mohamed Mrisho, Sharifa Hassan Mrisho, Zulpha Suleyman Rashid, Furaha Mrisho

 

The pilot Women Water Watch takes part in COESO.COESO has received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (2014-2020) SwafS-27-2020 – Hands-on citizen science and frugal innovation, under Grant Agreement No.101006325.”  

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Diary from Bagamoyo field research

First field research day

My plane landed in Dar es Salaam on the 19th of July, late evening. I was supposed to arrive in the morning, meet Cretus, the founder of our partner NGO, AFO, discuss with the AFO team our action plan, and leave for Bagamoyo the same day. Because of some flight delay, I did not do any of these things, and had to spend the first night in a hotel just next to the airport, reminding myself the main rule of doing field research: plan, but also prepare that nothing won’t devolve according to the plan!

The next day, however, proved to be busy. Dar es Salaam is a city of contrasts. It is a  crowded megapolis that patches together slums and expensive real estate areas, chill beaches and crammed and noisy markets, churches and mosques, and modern buildings and farms. These were my thoughts during my one-hour drive from my hotel to the AFO office. I was happy to see Cretus in person again, after 6 months, and meet the AFO team. When I arrived, there was no electricity, our laptops were low on battery, so, we had to write everything on paper while discussing the issues related to the field research, starting with the research permit, meeting ward and village officials, and ending with the most routine aspects of transportation and accommodation. Fruitful meeting! But once it was over, I had to rush to Tegeta, a busy marketplace and bus station, catch a bus, arrive in Bagamoyo, meet the other members of the team, fix the issue with my SIM card, grab some food, catch another bus, and late in the evening, I was finally at the Peace Lodge in Mtoni hamlet.

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Wanawake maji salama!

Twenty women … dressed in their blue wWw tshirts … in a coconut leave thatched hall in Bagamoyo…

“Wanawake Maji Salama!” … “Wanawake Maji Salama!” *
*Safe water women

Photo: two Women Water Watch (wWw) women monitors practicing with their phone

Enthusiastic shouts echo through the hall. It’s the first day of the women Water watch mobile water monitoring training. Enthusiastic crowds make for enthusiastic presenters. After an introduction by Cretus (AFO) and a courtesy and encouraging introduction by the ward community development officer, Doreen (Mzumbe university) invites the women to think about the importance of water … for their health, the health of their children, for the economy and the environment.
After discussing the importance of enough, reliable, accessible and safe water, the women are introduced to the monitoring tool created through the mwater platform. Last night, the women teams – four women per village- were provided with mobile phones for monitoring the water sources in their village. After the unavoidable technical hassles (creating accounts, passwords, privacy settings, mobile credit, …) the phones are operational, the women are ready to use it and the monitoring form ready to be used.

Photo: mobile data entry training
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How it all started …

The wWw project is built on the collaboration between the Aqua Farms Organisation (AFO) and the Institute of Development Policy (IOB), University of Antwerp.
AFO is a Tanzania-based NGO that has extensive experience with local citizen science projects and community involvement in several projects, including topics on seaweed, mangrove restoration, river water quality monitoring, and working with fishing communities.
IOB on the other hand has ample experience with small and large research projects, including citizen science projects (e.g. Fuatilia Maji project).

Cretus Joseph Mtonga, the co-founder and executive secretary of AFO, and the IOB team (Diana Tiholaz, Sara Dewachter, Nathalie Holvoet) first met on the 8th of December 2021, when the IOB team together with Mzumbe University staff organized a conference in Mogororo, Tanzania.

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Community voices and needs

The women water watch (wWw) project did not want to only involve citizens in the data collection phase, but also have the community be involved in the project from the very beginning. To that end, village meetings were organised to find out the most important challenges citizens are facing with regard to water. Moreover, the project also explores the already existing local knowledge on water quality and management to build on in this citizen science project.

Photo: Woman monitor reads wWw leaflet at village meeting
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Women Water Watch

The Women Water Watch (wWw) blog provides the readers an inside view in the research process, results and the stories behind the wWw citizen science project.

The wWw project works with women monitor teams in Tanzania to faciliate water knowledge co-creation and dissemination and aims to give women a voice in water resource management. We experiment with different instruments (radio, games, murals, flags, open source data portals, …) to stimulate use of information by various stakeholders and also engage with primary school children as junior citizen scientists

This blog will share the stories about the different stakeholders throughout the entire research process: the story of how the women became water monitors, how they voiced their challenges and then co-designed instruments to collect data and share information about them, the story of how children through games, songs, becoming a scientist learn more about water and also how researchers from different cultures and disciplines work together to contribute to water knowledge co-creation.

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