Shannon Jensen/The GroundTruth Project GlobalPost

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — The water sector in Tanzania once resembled the Wild West. The government did little to ensure that every person had access to clean and safe water.

Donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worked to solve the problem, sometimes together and sometimes on their own. But there was a flaw, explained Amani Mafuru, an engineer for rural water supply in Tanzania.

“One development partner can go to a region and then another comes to the same place,” he said. “So there was a tendency to favor certain parts of the country.”

In 2006, the Tanzanian government launched the Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP) to do things differently. When it came to constructing rural water points under the WSDP, decisions were not going to be set in Washington DC, nor in the Tanzanian capital of Dodoma.

Instead, WSDP managers would let communities decide for themselves what sort of water system they wanted to build.

Read what happened next in Part 3 of a GroundTruth Project for GlobalPost.

Shannon Jensen/The GroundTruth Project – GlobalPost

LUPETA, Tanzania — It’s a full day’s bus ride from Dar es Salaam to the district of Mpwapwa in north-central Tanzania. It is here that the earliest signs appeared of trouble ahead for Tanzania’s ambitious water development program.

Engineers dug boreholes in 2004 and 2005 to get at water trapped deep in the ground in Mpwapwa and in 13 other places across the country in a precursory step of a failed $1.42 billion water initiative supported by the World Bank, known as the Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP).

The idea was to learn how expensive it would be to create functioning water points, how long they’d take to build and how best to establish “community water councils” capable of keeping the water flowing. Leaders would learn from mistakes on a few pilot projects and work out all the kinks before the plan went national. But critics say those lessons went unlearned. Read the full story here. 

This is Part Two of a series produced by The GroundTruth Project for GlobalPost, funded by the Galloway Family Foundation.

The Chinese Invade Africa

By Ian Johnson – SEPTEMBER 25, 2014 ISSUE

“Kushner is fair-minded and has invested much time and effort in figuring out the interplay between the new superpower and a poor but strategically important African country.”

“The Chinese approach guarantees that something will get done. As one Congo official told Kushner: ‘It’s been 50 years that we’ve cooperated with the IMF, the World Bank. And for 50 years we’ve had the same problem. There aren’t roads. There aren’t schools. There aren’t universities.'”

“This way of doing business also leaves Chinese companies exposed. A Chinese manager named Robin told Kushner that the Chinese talked with a Congolese official who promised to help them do it. They began courting him with kind words, and later, with gifts. ‘We gave him a car, a house, and a lot of furniture,’ says Robin. ‘He had been to China to meet with our (company) president. He said ‘No problem, I promise you, you can buy a mine in Congo.’ But it was so complicated.’ The mine never materialized.”

“Some Westerners might shake their heads, but the West pioneered not only colonialism in Africa, but the worst practices in dealing with newly independent countries. For thirty years after Congo’s independence, Western countries supported Mobutu Sese Seko, one of Africa’s most corrupt dictators, supplying him with aid and weapons.”
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