International Volunteering Day & Charlie 6 Secondary Project

1st December 2013

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Today is UN International Volunteering Day.  This is a day to promote the work of volunteer organisations and volunteers worldwide.  It is therefore appropriate that Charlie 6 have decided for their secondary project to promote volunteering within Endashangwet, inspiring the local community to assist with their work as well as hopefully continuing to volunteer long after Charlie 6 have left.  Here is their blog for this week:

 

 

The aim of Charlie 6’s secondary project has been to create a human resource within the community, as well as encourage material resource development, through community mobilisation.  We have attempted to do this through the promotion of volunteering to both our youth and women’s groups. 

We decided to target women within the community as within development women are often far more likely to redirect resources back into their community and we decided to target the youth because the practices they acquire will hopefully be passed down to future generations.  Additionally due to lack of economic activity in Endashangwet there are high rates of unemployment so members of the youth have happily donated their time to volunteer. 

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So far we have carried out two out of three volunteering days with the youth group.  The first of which consisted of working together with the youth group to construct five tippy taps in the DMDD sanitation centre.  The second youth volunteering day took place at the dispensary where we installed and painted shelving units.  The third day we have planned with the youth group will also involve carrying out improvement s at the dispensary. 

Last week Charlie 6 had the pleasure of being able to set up its women’s group and meet them for the first time.  After a lot of mandazis (Tanzanian-style doughnuts) and chai (tea) making and eating we arranged our first volunteering day with them, also at the dispensary.  The day will involve painting treatment rooms with much needed durable paint.  The next volunteering day we have planned will involve creating a mural outside the dispensary, as well as installing a tippy tap.  During the last day of the women’s group we have plans to build six more tippy taps at the local primary school. 

Charlie 6 is also planning to design and make 12 posters, to ensure our awareness raising is sustainable.  The posters will feature material on why, when and how to wash your hands and how to construct a tippy tap.  One of each will be put up in the local school, the dispensary and the village office. 

Charlie 6 believes that material resource development will create various benefits for the community.  To begin with the installation of shelving units at the dispensary will improve organisation and efficiency and so there will be more time to treat patients.  The painting of the dispensary with more durable paint will ensure that the walls are washable and so will create a healthier environment in which to treat patients (as will the installation of the tippy tap).  The painting of the mural will reduce the daunting environment of the dispensary and so encourage individuals to visit when they are ill.  Eventually this will lead to an overall healthier population in Endashangwet. 

The installation of tippy taps at the DMDD sanitation centre will lead to more people building hand-washing facilities for their own toilets at home; consequently incidences of diarrhoea will fall, meaning that individuals will have more time to dedicate to economic activities. 

The installation of more tippy taps at the local school, combined with the awareness raising Charlie 6 carried out in phase 1 will reduce the incidence of diarrhoea, therefore absence rates will fall, and eventually there will be a more educated population, which in turn will lead to greater economic development within Endashangwet. 

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Charlie 6 is hoping that material resource development will not be the only product of our community mobilisation, as through volunteering a human resource has been created.  Through this individuals from the community have acquired hard skills such as painting and carpentry and soft skills such as leadership, communication and team work.  These skills are all desirable for employers.  However, maybe more importantly these volunteering days can give our volunteers a sense of empowerment and ownership.  They will give individuals the knowledge and power to know that they can make the change they want to happen.  This therefore encourages more community development.