Team 6 Mseko Community – Sustainable partnerships and progress so far

13th July 2014

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Team 6 is partnering with SEMA who are working in Mseko to promote health and hygiene practices and safe water usage. Their work aims to increase hand washing, the use of ‘tippy taps’, safely preparing drinking water and highlighting the benefits of using of an improved latrine.

This is achieved through introducing the ideas to the community, completing school water and sanitation lessons and raising awareness on a community level. 

SEMA also have a longer term goal that involves knocking down the currently unsuitable school toilet blocks and rebuilding new and improved latrines for the children. To encourage community ownership some of the materials used to build the toilet block will be supplied by the community. This provides sustainability to the construction as the community holds more value in the project and will continue to build and drive the movement forward after we have left. As a result of SEMA’s work water and sanitation related illnesses will be decreased in the area and school attendance will be increased as well as many other benefits for the community.

SEMA involve the community in their work through the support of the Raleigh ICS programme. Team 6 has been collaborating with the local people to complete a period of ‘action research’. This has included working with the community to map out the location of key resources, enabling us to create a picture of what the village already has and what they feel they might need. We have also held community days in which we shared tea with the community and discussed sanitation issues such as hand washing, the importance of cleaning utensils and safely treating drinking water. To add to this we also held a drama session in the local market that explored these key issues. Both events were widely attended by the sub-villages and helped us to integrate more into the community.

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Team 6 has also been helping to build on the relationship between the local community and SEMA in many ways. We have visited all sub villages in our area; Mseko A, Mseko B, Malendi and Mwamlula to undertake research on behalf of SEMA. The research highlighted some difficult issues faced by many local people, for example most households do not have access to a toilet and many people have to walk up to 4 hours to collect water.

We have been visiting community groups, particularly the women’s group who are often more marginalized, and promoting the work of our project partners. With the women’s group we have discussed the importance of their role in the community and how they can be further empowered by maintaining a relationship with SEMA, as well as how small changes in the way we cook and use water can improve health.  

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