Alpha 2 reflect on phase 1 and the importance of raising awareness of good hygiene and sanitation

12th March 2017

Every moment during the three weeks in Chimlata was an opportunity to learn and to teach, for both Raleigh team members and the local community. Each member of Alpha 2 has been involved in delivering at least three awareness raising lessons, and in just three weeks, 15 hours of SWASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools) lessons have been taught with each grade-level receiving two lessons.

“The energy in the classroom when the minds of children are growing is an incredible feeling. They are like sponges-we watch them absorb everything we teach them, and they’re always eager for more.” Said Elvis, volunteer from Hong Kong.

Before we began the classroom sessions we conducted a base-line survey of the children’s current awareness of hygiene practices as a means of assessing where our efforts should be focused. Recognizing the importance of interactive lessons, we used engaging teaching methods like the 8-steps of handwashing song, which they committed to memory after just one lesson. The younger children also created mini-posters illustrating the important times to wash their hands which were tangible items to take home and display in their houses. Raising awareness about the importance of maintaining proper sanitation is essential as it can prevent the contraction of diseases caught by poor handwashing. This, in turn, influences the young people’s chances of completing secondary school, earning their college degree, obtaining a job and eventually being able to aid the community with future development.

Max, Ciara and Eleanore with the children of Chimlata primary school
Max, Ciara and Eleanore with the children of Chimlata primary school

In addition to the classroom sessions, we had the opportunity to build two tippy-taps at the school; these are hand washing stations made out of sticks, one small container for water, soap and string. We were happy to find that, following this many families in the village had constructed tippy-taps in their homes so it was clear that information taught at school was already being circulated throughout the community.

“When I saw a new tippy-tap at one of homes in the village just one day after we built some at the school, I felt quite proud of not only Alpha 2 but the children for being so vocal.” Said Kelvin, Tanzanian volunteer.

Chimlata villagers entertaining the community.
Chimlata villagers entertaining the community with some drumming

We also held a community action day, more than 300 villagers and children turned out to hear guest speakers from the surrounding communities speak on the importance of sanitation and clean water initiatives in schools as well as the necessity for support for youth involvement. The Village Chairman acknowledged the progress Raleigh had made in the past three weeks and how the team members are role models for the youth of Chimlata. The day was a wonderful event celebrating of the end of phase 1 and the bonds created between the students and the volunteers. The vibrant cultural diversity was also enjoyed when local dancers drummed and sang traditional songs, a DJ played music for the children to dance to, and prizes of biscuits and sweets were enjoyed as game prizes.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Tanzania