The Global Water Initiative East Africa was established in 2006 in an effort to ensure 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. The program focuses on the reduction of vulnerability to water-related shocks within the East Africa region as well as the improvement of livelihoods, health and overall welfare through Integrated Water Resource Management. GWI East Africa is funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. This program is being implemented in four countries in the East Africa Region (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) by a partnership that includes CARE, Action Against Hunger, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Oxfam America.
In Tanzania, the area of operation, the Pangani River Basin (PRB), represents a high priority location for assistance because of its aridity, socio-economic status and increasing vulnerability to water related shocks. Expected outcomes of shifting weather patterns associated with climate change include deforestation, flooding, crop destruction and increased disease transmission.
The overall institutional organization for the river basin is provided for under the Tanzanian National Water Policy, whereby water resource management is regulated by the Pangani Basin Water Office and water resource development facilitated through the local government administration.
The populations residing within the arid and semi-arid zones of the PRB are more vulnerable than those in the other zones; as a consequence their present capacity to adapt to and reduce the impact of water shocks is limited. The level of provision of basic water and sanitation facilities is below 50 percent, and schools are particularly under-served. Because water supplies are located far from users a particular burden falls upon women and children, having a profound impact on the universal access to primary education, health, gender equity and the empowerment of women.
Environmental degradation has also had negative effects within these arid areas. It is unfortunately the case that much of the basin outside of urban areas has very limited basic services. As a consequence there is an elevated occurrence of water-related disease and a poor knowledge of hygiene behaviors in these arid zones.