How Clean Water Changed Nipaeli’s Life

Larry Conover | February 12, 2014

Nipaeli Waioto working in her field in Northeast Tanzania. Photo: Joel Cooper/CWS

Nipaeli Waioto working in her field in Northeast Tanzania. Photo: Joel Cooper/CWS

As a single mother of four children, Nipaeli Waioto understands firsthand struggling for food security.  It’s not just a concept to her, it’s reality.

For years, she awoke each day wondering if she was going to be able to find enough food for her and her children.  Nipaeli owns a small field where she would have one harvest per year of 200 pounds of maize. This wasn’t even enough to feed her family, let alone leave any maize to sell to provide for their other needs.

Unfortunately, her story was repeated throughout the entire Mheza village. The arid village, located in Northeast Tanzania, of 6,300 people struggled with too little water to grow enough crops since the village dam was destroyed by a flood in 1998. Malnutrition and poverty were the norm. Then, in 2011 CWS partnered with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania to build a 1,430 meter irrigation canal to provide water for the community.

The results? Life changing for the entire community!

Where once there was dry, hardened soil – there are now abundant crops.
Where once there was malnutrition – there are now healthy, full stomachs.
Where once there was rampant poverty – there is now financial stability.
Where there was despair – there is now joy and hope.

And as for Nipaeli, she now has two harvests each year instead of one. And the result is 2,200 pounds of maize instead of 200. She and her children have plenty to eat. They also now are selling maize and have money for health care, school fees, improvements to their home, the list goes on.

I have had the privilege of meeting Nipaeli. As she talked about the water and how it has changed her life she was beaming with joy. It was a profound moment for me. It made me so proud to be working for CWS. It showed me that we aren’t just helping people, we are transforming lives.

Larry Conover, Assistant Field Director, Michigan

Learn more about the Mheza, Tanzania, food security project here.