Since 2018 Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA) and Raleigh Tanzania have been working in partnership to deliver school water, sanitation and hygiene (SWASH) projects at rural primary schools in the Morogoro region.
Through JOA’s Community Work Projects (CWP), volunteers from Jersey have been able to support Raleigh Tanzania in improving the access to safe water and sanitation for schoolchildren, as well as enhancing education around hygiene topics in the surrounding communities. As well as supporting rural communities, CWPs deliver personal development for the volunteers. This may include gaining leadership skills, developing cross-cultural perspectives, creating lifelong friendships and building strong links with the communities they are working alongside.
The first CWP in Tanzania was successfully completed in July 2018 with a team of volunteers consisting of Jersey residents and young of Tanzania working on a SWASH project in the community of Katurukila.
The next passionate team of JOA and young Tanzanian volunteers are currently working in the rural village of Mkamba. Larger than the usual communities Raleigh work in, Mkamba is in no less need of infrastructure improvements at the primary school. With over 9000 people living in Mkamba, the main primary school has had a huge influx of children seeking education since the introduction of free schooling was rolled out across Tanzania in October 2015.
The project seeks to provide 18 new toilets for the eager students and 2 more for the hardworking teachers of this ambitious school. A Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) room will also be provided, which allow girls the safety and ability to clean themselves and maintain their school attendance during a vital part of their education.
The new toilet blocks also encourage good waste management and a change in hygiene behaviours. Septic tanks allow for the extraction of waste when full in order to keep the surrounding environment waste-free. A hand-washing station will be located next to the toilet blocks in order to encourage good hygiene practices. And finally, a set of beautiful murals will be painted on each new piece of infrastructure to encourage the proper SWASH behaviours; water conservation, sanitation, hygiene, as well as continued maintenance of these new toilet blocks.
With the student toilets almost finished, the JOA team will assist in the building of the teacher’s toilets from start to finish, allowing the final Raleigh team to build the hand-washing station and officially hand over the buildings to the School Management Committee (SMC).
Whilst construction has been going on, the hardware, the software aspect of the project has been in full swing inside the classroom. Volunteers have been delivering classes to the school children and mobilising the rest of the community to attend awareness raising session on all aspects of sanitation and hygiene. Changing behaviours in these areas and encouraging ownership are of paramount importance in increasing the longevity of the new toilet blocks and are fundamental parts of every Raleigh Tanzania SWASH projects.
Written by Bryn Williams