We wanted to focus on introducing ourselves personally to the local community because as we are the second Raleigh Tanzania team to come to Mwaya to continue the work started by the first team. The work includes the completion of a block of 18 toilets, an MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) room, two teachers’ toilets and a hand washing station for Darajani Primary School. An action day is a brilliant opportunity to directly engage the youth and adults from the community with the SWASH (School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) message.
Our action days were focused on delivering SWASH information in an interactive and entertaining way. It is essential for all community members to feel included and engaged in our work, in order to promote sustainable development through community members supporting and learning from each other in their homes, families and social groups, now and long after we have left.
As well as raising awareness of our work in Mwaya, at our first action day it was our mission to deliver information on hand and personal hygiene in five concise sessions which were held at five separate stalls. We aimed to make these sessions engaging for all ages in the community. Each stall focused on a different topic, including hand, body and face washing. Education on these topics is imperative in rural communities such as Mwaya, as poor hygiene significantly reduces health and increases the chances of catching faecal-oral diseases. This leads to less people attending school and work, as well as higher mortality rates in areas where good quality healthcare isn’t readily available.
Our second action day had a different focus, water safety. We delivered this in five sessions on topics such as water sources, water purification and waste disposal. This knowledge is crucial in most areas of Tanzania where water from taps and pumps is not safe to drink, and communities such as Mwaya use river water as a main source for drinking, washing and bathing, as well as waste disposal.
We followed the information sessions with games to increase community participation and interest. Games included a soap and spoon race, a mandazi eating competition, a ‘how far can you throw the soap?’ competition and, the village’s favourite, ‘Chase the Chicken’. We finished both days with music and dancing which gave the volunteers a chance to further interact with community members, as well as show off our culturally diverse dance moves!
The leader of Darajani School Management Committee said that “[The community] considered [the action day] well, they were happy, enjoyed the games and would love for it to be done again.” This highlights how successful our action days have been here in Mwaya!