Progress, Parties and Productivity

7th July 2015

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Yankee 1 has had a very busy week in Malahalli, commencing with our first community action day (CAD) which we held at the local government school. The event began with a variety of speeches from important people.

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This included the village leader, ASHA worker, Gram Panchayat Development Officer and the Taluk Panchayat Sanitation Officer. Each of these speeches focussed on motivating the villagers to apply for the sanitation unit scheme which Yankee 1 volunteers are strongly advocating.  The volunteers also performed a variety of skits relating to WASH to raise awareness on issues such as effective hand washing, understanding of the way germs spread, litter and safe water boiling times. In addition to this, there was a coconut shy and ‘pin the bindi on the face’ game which were greatly enjoyed by the youths and children. The day proved to be a huge success with over 120 people attending and the Taluk Panchayat Sanitation Officer commending the work of the Yankee 1 volunteers.

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In addition to this, we also delivered our four weekly school WASH sessions, with two in Malahalli and two in the neighbouring villages of Kelipura and Chenputna. These sessions aimed to generate a desire for, and an awareness of the benefits of using a toilet as opposed to open defecating. For the first time since our project began we added two kindergarten sessions to our schedule. All the volunteers enjoyed meeting and teaching Malahalli’s youngest villagers. Yankee 1 will continue to look forward to our future school and kindergarten sessions.

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To further integrate and raise awareness on WASH topics such as germs and hand washing we conducted house to house sessions in small groups throughout the week. This included a significant amount of chai and biscuits as well as handing out awareness raising posters detailing how germs are spread. Later in the week, the volunteers were overjoyed to spot these posters on shop window shutters and in the school and kindergarten classrooms.

The youths of Malahalli are continuing to be enthusiastic about helping the volunteers with their work. We have enjoyed spending time with the youths through our weekly volleyball and cricket sessions through which we also learned their concerns on village issues. A highlight of working with the youths this week was a meeting to discuss establishing a youth self help group with the hope of the youths continuing Yankee 1’s work once we depart the village. The youths were excited about this prospect as they had enjoyed helping us at the CAD.

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Other activities included cleaning the village’s water tank; a litterpicking session with the village children; two lady’s night in which we were able to integrate with several women in the village, whilst learning to cook local food and raising awareness on WASH; an international development session on climate change led by the weekly leaders; and breakfast at a Gram Panchyat member’s house in the neighbouring town of Hura. Moreover, as a result of the team’s strong advocacy efforts we were able to get the entire village’s street lights fixed, an issue which had been frequently brought to our attention in order to prevent wild elephants entering the village.

YIB1P4After the fantastic start at the CAD, the team were delighted to assist in the collation of 21 toilet applications which we handed in to the Gram Panchyat during our weekly meeting. We are confident that many more will be completed in the coming weeks. Yankee 1 are very proud of the work we have achieved this week and are excited to continue working and learning in Malahalli in the forthcoming weeks.

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