Grassroots Financing – A solution for Tanzania  

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Nearly half of all Tanzanians lack access to safe sanitation

Today, 29 million Tanzanians (out of a population of almost 60 million!) still lack access to improved sanitation. This, as reports, is largely due to the lack of household sanitation infrastructure. In rural areas, only 10% of the households have an improved non-shared toilet facility. Meanwhile, 73% use unimproved toilet facilities.

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Maria Kisili or “Mama Choo” is a mother who cares very much about toilets. She works as a community health worker in Serengeti District. Community health workers are critical to raising awareness on the needs and possibilities of safe sanitation. They link households to financial institutions to access the financing necessary to construct toilet facilities. 

Critically, 70% of Tanzania’s health budget is spent on treating and managing preventable water/sanitation/hygiene (WASH)-related diseases (UNICEF). Children are the biggest victims of poor sanitation as they suffer from life-threatening illnesses resulting from it. This issue urges a holistic solution to improve total community and environmental health. WASTE has joined in the fight with our FINISH Mondial Tanzania programme team to ensure sanitation is accessible for everyone. Our FINISH Mondial programme in Tanzania is achieving this by working with local grassroots financial institutions (GFIs) to ensure no one is left behind.

How are grassroots financial institutions (GFIs) helping Tanzanians obtain safe sanitation? 

Grassroot financial institutions (GFI) are savings and lending community organizations. They are voluntarily formed by people living in the same areas in a formal structure with leadership, chairperson, secretary, treasurer, etc. Their operations are guided by norms and rules that the group members collectively agree on. In Tanzania, such institutions are either registered by the District Community Development Officer (DCDO) or the Cooperative Officer.  

The establishment of these institutions in Tanzania aims to help individuals who do not meet the formal requirements of larger banks get the money they need. Realising that many households cannot afford improved sanitation facilities, we partner with GFIs to ensure local people have the resources the need to build safely managed toilet infrastructure through our FINISH Mondial programme.  

FINISH Mondial is a partnership between the founding organisation, WASTE, with Amref Flying Doctors, and Aqua for All, funded in part by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (DGIS-IGG). Our 6-country programme employs our Diamond Model to bulid healthier and socio-economically empowered communities. The programme is led locally in Tanzania by Hach Ltd. and Amref Health Africa. FINISH Mondial Tanzania specializes in their work supporting local financing institutions to develop loan portfolios dedicated to sanitation. The programme supports households and sanitation entrepreneurs to access financing and construct quality toilets and ensure the total market is developed so the operation and maintenance of the systems are self-sufficient. The programme offers capacity building for entrepreneurs, financial education, and literacy training for all.  

In 2021 alone, our FINISH Mondial programme in Tanzania achieved the construction of more than 8,000 safely managed toilets, reaching more than 40,000 people. They reached 166 entrepreneurs with training and business support, as well as generating 85,000 workdays for local skilled masons in construction alone. The support to financial institutions has resulted in more than €1.7 million of local funds mobilised for sanitation improvements.  

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A quality toilet being constructed under our FINISH Mondial programme in Serengeti District, Tanzania.  

Supporting Tanzanians for a healthier future through financial inclusion

We are working together to scale up the approach, built on the successes so far. By 2025, the FINISH Mondial Tanzania team is working to construct at least 75,000 safely managed toilets through their work supporting local financial institutions to improve lending for critical needs and services like sanitation infrastructure.

Learn more about our expertise in sanitation and innovative financing.

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