Water is life: ‘Maji ni uhai’


The Swahili saying ‘Maji ni uhai’ – ‘Water is life’ captures the absolute necessity of having continuous, safe water in eastern Africa. It can’t be taken for granted.

Located in one of the most arid regions in the country—in a good year it receives about 20 inches of rainfall—St Peter Claver High School (SPCHS) is a boarding and co-educational Jesuit institution on a 500 acre campus. It is a lively, thriving school with a student body of almost 1,200 and a teaching staff approaching 100 people. A scholarship programme that relies on donations and a small endowment fund allows girls and boys from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to attend.

The school has been relying on boreholes (water wells) for its fresh water supply. With an increasing number of students and staff living there, there is not enough during the dry season from April to October to properly water the vegetable garden: the garden is the school’s main self-reliance activity in sustainable farming.

Harvesting a precious resource

With assistance from the Irish Jesuit Missions, fresh rainwater will be harvested from four large roofs alleviating water shortage and providing training for the students in the efficient use of rainwater. It will be stored in tanks connected to the boreholes.

Self-reliance activities are crucial in cutting down on school management expenses and helping to make the school financially sustainable.

The rainwater harvesting project will be a model for people in the Dodoma region in water conservation, will contribute to the bank of local knowledge and hopefully be replicated by them at their homes, institutions and other locations.

To learn, to love, to serve. And to have fun.

The students are encouraged to develop their talents and interests. Take a sneak peak at their own video created for the 2016 ‘SPCHS Got Talent Live’.


The mission of St. Peter Claver High School—a Catholic, Jesuit school—is to assist young men and women to develop their talents, intellectual and otherwise, in order to serve others to the greater glory of God.

The school anthem encapsulates its approach to education:

“Some of the values we are called to cherish
Are love, compassion, truth, and justice,
Hardworking, respect for all others,
Kindness, sharing, and honesty”

The school has a child-centered approach to education and has adopted the motto: to learn, to love, to serve. It has incorporated ‘cura personalis’ as part of its philosophy of education.
Latin for care for the (individual) person, ‘cura personalis’ is a hallmark of Jesuit education in which the teacher establishes a personal relationship with students, listens to them in the process of teaching, and draws them toward personal initiative and responsibility for learning.

A noble vision

The vision of the school is to graduate young men and women who are:
Intellectually Competent. They will be able to engage with the great questions of the day, to assess situations accurately, and to act on these judgments rationally.
Religious. They will recognize the grace of God active in the world and be prepared to respond to the divine goodness in service to God in worship and assistance to others.
Loving. They will be people who are warmhearted and care for those whom God places them with: family, friends, associates – even strangers.

st peter claver tanzaniaCommitted to Doing Justice. They will be people who are devoted to fostering relationships in the world that recognise the God-given dignity of all people, who seek to live in solidarity with others as brothers and sisters, and who have a concern for “the least of our brothers and sisters”.
Open to Growth. They will be people who see horizons not as limits but as invitations to continue to search, people committed to developing specific skills, talents, and intellectual stances—but not at the expense of new possibilities.

More information on the school on its Facebook page and website

Author: Compiled by Irish Jesuit Missions Communications , 24th March 2017.