We have achieved a lot since being in Changombe, but it’s not just whilst we are here that impacts of our work have been shown. There will be impacts of our placement visible even after we have left this beautiful village that we have called home for 12 weeks.
School, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (SWASH) Lessons
In total we have taught 9 lessons at Changombe Primary School, covering a variety of topics including handwashing, germs, and nutrition. The lessons have been very successful and the children can all now recite the 6 steps of handwashing. The knowledge that the children have learnt from the SWASH lessons will hopefully stay with them forever, and be something that they can pass onto their families and friends both now and in the future.
Three focus groups have been set up which the team have been working closely with. These groups are: youth, women and elders. A requirement of a focus group is that it should contain 7-10 people, this has allowed us to work intimately with local community members on a regular basis. We have been able to cover a large variety of topics that the community has expressed interest in, in detail. These topics have included personal hygiene, home cleanliness and diseases.
The impact of this area of our project is that community members have a detailed knowledge on various topics that they can teach to their families and fellow village members for years to come. We have also encouraged that these groups remain even when we are no longer here to lead them. To help this process, we have left resources to match each meeting that all the groups can refer to in the future, providing a solid foundation for the groups to continue.
A significant part of our project here in Changombe has been the construction of 9 new latrines at the local Primary School. The hope is that these latrines will improve sanitation and hygiene in the school and provide a better environment and facilities for the children. These latrines also have a longer life span than the previous latrines, allowing them to be used for many years to come. A mural is also being painted on the outside walls of the latrine block, promoting improved hygiene and handwashing; a constant reminder of the work we have done here and the importance of sanitation.
Changombe is made up of 4 sub-villages. By conducting community meetings, we have been able to reach the populations of these sub-villages, allowing information to reach a wider audience. We have covered a variety of topics, from waste management to nutrition. The knowledge that we have passed on will hopefully be practiced in a large proportion of the community’s daily lives.
For every area of our work done here we have provided resource packs, so that community members, village leaders and teachers can use them in the future. This is a key area of our project as it allows our work to carry on even after we have gone.
The whole team has enjoyed every minute of their time here in Changombe, and it is sad that we have reached the end of our project. However, knowing that our mark will be left reminds the group of how valuable our work has been here, not just for our own personal development, but for each member of the community and the families that we have been part of here.