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Early Childhood Care and Education in Water-Scarcity Villages in Tanzania: The Case of Ng’hong’onha Village, Dodoma

Lyabwene Mtahabwa, PhD*

Abstract

This article presents findings from a study that adopted a concept of the best interests of the child to investigate stakeholders’ experiences in different water-scarcity contexts in relation to the care and education of children by using the case of one village in Dodoma region. Three objectives guided the study: (a) establishing the extent of water scarcity and its causes in relation to early childhood service delivery; (b) documenting the effects of water scarcity on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE); and (c) examining efforts made by village members to curb water scarcity. The study gathered data from a sample of 37 informants obtained purposively through the deployment of a case study design and a qualitative research approach. Focus group discussions (FGDs), interviews and documentary reviews were used as data collection methods. The results showed that the failure to rectify water scarcity created contexts that paralyzed almost every life affair of the inhabitants in general, and the quality of ECCE in particular. There were multiple negative effects associated with water scarcity on the provision of ECCE, including: less joyful learning, disruptions of study time, eye diseases, skin diseases and diarrhoea. Overall, the experiences of stakeholders indicated that the provision of care and education in water-scarcity contexts hardly realized best interests of the child in most significant ways. By implication, water signified one of the most important resources worth considering in the planning and implementation of ECCE programmes.

Keywords

early childhood care and education, water scarcity, village, Tanzania.

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