Spotlight On: SWASH Clubs

4th August 2017

What is a SWASH club?

SWASH stands for school water, sanitation and hygiene. A core component of the Raleigh Tanzania WASH programme, SWASH clubs are an extracurricular activity run by ICS volunteers during their placement in a rural Tanzania village. Students are invited to come along and learn about good sanitation and the project’s goals in a fun and relaxed way through games and lessons.

What does SWASH club hope to achieve?

The aim of SWASH clubs is to further engage the school pupils, and to allow them to get to know the team of ICS volunteers on a more personal level. The topics covered in SWASH club are: hand and self hygiene, water safety, operations and maintenance of the facilities currently being built and menstrual hygiene management (MHM) – a new topic for Raleigh Tanzania in 2017. We hope that by encouraging the school children to feel passionate about WASH values, they can become role models amongst their peers and the wider Difinga community.

How many attend SWASH club?

SWASH club is open to all year groups from one to seven, which means we have an age span of six to 14 years old. In Difinga SWASH club we currently have 80 enrolled members, including three elected positions: chairperson, secretary and treasurer. Approximately 40 pupils attend the club each week.

What do we do in SWASH club?

At SWASH club we love games, activities and keeping it fun! We aim to reiterate the messages pupils are taught by our volunteers during class time, in exciting and inventive ways. During phase one of placement; alongside informal lessons, we have had arts and crafts sessions, scavenger hunts, outdoor games, singing, dancing, a parade and we even scripted and rehearsed a play which was performed by SWASH club in front of the local community.

Baraka the chairperson of the club said, “In SWASH CLUB, I always like lessons which are taught because we get to learn about personal hygiene. Now  I am able to wash my hands using the six stages of washing hands, as well as getting the chance to play different games.”

What is the goal of SWASH club?

Alongside having fun, the main goal for SWASH club is that we will inspire the members to become agents for change. We hope the school pupils will continue to raise awareness of good sanitation within their families and community, long after the Raleigh Tanzania volunteers have left the village. We believe that young people are key to initiating change and hopefully, with the knowledge we pass on at SWASH club, they will be able to lead the way for future generations, which will benefit the development and prosperity of the village as a whole.

School pupil Aika who attends SWASH club said, “I like SWASH Club because we have a lot of fun! Now I know how to practice good sanitation and am capable of maintaining the new facilities with the rest of the school community.”

How does SWASH club tie in with the wider WASH programme and the sustainable development goals?

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) were agreed upon by 93 countries and aim to aid development on a global scale. In Difinga we are working towards a number of the SDGs. For example, goal six: ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’, is a constant focus in all that we do. Accompanying this, our project is also closely related to goals three: ‘Good health and four: ‘Quality Education’. Another key goal which is central to our project is goal five: ‘Gender Equality’.

In Tanzania teenage girls commonly drop out of school when menstruation starts, mainly due to the lack of facilities and understanding. For two weeks in phase 2, our project will focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management, which is specifically aimed at the empowerment of girls by providing them with an education on menstruation and adequate changing facilities. We hope this will allow girls to feel more comfortable and to remain in education, which enables them to further their future prospects.

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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Tanzania