Case study: the Mtumba approach, Tanzania

Mtumba is near Dodoma, in Tanzania.

Approaches to managing water in developing countries must be sustainable. Some villages in Tanzania have managed to reduce water insecurity through sustainable approaches.


Tanzania is a developing country in East Africa. 14 million people in Tanzania have no access to safe water. 27 million people have no access to toilets. The two issues are linked, because a lack of toilet facilities allows faeces and bacteria to enter water that is used for drinking and cooking. This causes diarrhoea, which kills over 7,000 children per year in Tanzania.

What is the Mtumba approach?

The Mtumba approach is a sustainable approach to water management, named after the village of Mtumba in Tanzania. The aim of the Mtumba approach is to build toilets for Tanzanian villagers. This prevents faeces and bacteria entering drinking water. The charity (WaterAid) provides training for locals so that they are able to build their own toilets. All decisions about the type and design of toilet are made by community members and the materials are affordable.


The Mtumba project has brought many benefits:

  • Villagers become ill less often. This means that they are able to work. In Mtumba, some residents now make and sell clothes to other villages.
  • Government support has helped people to understand the need for toilets. This means that they are more likely to accept the help that the charity offers.
  • Although the project is small-scale, around 420,000 people have benefitted from new toilets so far.
  • The Mtumba approach is now being used in other Tanzanian villages.

The Mtumba project only helps a limited number of people due to its size. However, it is sustainable and so the positive impacts should continue to benefit people.

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