Kaylea volunteered with Raleigh ICS in Tanzania in 2014. Along with her team of UK and Tanzanian volunteers, she helped to install a new pipe to bring fresh water to a rural community.
“I spent ten weeks in Tanzania working on a safe water and sanitation project in the Arusha region, in a large rural village of nearly 3,000 inhabitants. We camped just outside the village leader’s office and really got involved in the community by working in schools, holding meetings, visiting houses and working side by side with the local people to install a 6km water pipe to bring fresh water to the village.
Our project also focused on raising awareness of the importance of good water hygiene practices in order to avoid waterborne diseases, such as cholera and diarrhoea. We encouraged local people to treat their water before drinking or cooking with it, to separate their livestock from their homes and to wash their hands properly after using the toilet. We really noticed a change in hygiene habits over the time that we were living in the community.
We carried out a questionnaire at the schools to see what the children knew about water hygiene when we arrived. We asked the same questions again just before we left and it was clear that they had taken in the information that we had shared with them, which was really rewarding. We presented similar questionnaires to other people too, including the women’s and youth groups, and we saw the same change in attitude from those groups too. We recruited ambassadors from the groups who agreed to continue to convey messages about health and hygiene after we left, and the village leaders also promised that they would carry on the tradition we set up of holding community events to celebrate international days like ‘World Health Day’.
The relationships we formed with our in-country partners and the local people were absolutely priceless. Not only were these relationships useful for the project but they also helped us learn so much about the local culture. I think this is one of the best parts of the Raleigh ICS programme, as it gives you a real opportunity to learn about a culture that you wouldn’t be able to get from many other experiences. All of the projects we worked on were carried out in conjunction with the community, so people living in the community really understood what we were trying to achieve; because of this, I believe that the work we did in the village will continue to have an impact for a long time.
One of the main ways in which the Raleigh ICS experience has changed me as a person is that it has helped me to appreciate the many things that I took for granted beforehand. From food and water to educational opportunities and legal rights – it is very humbling to see what some people live without and it makes you extremely grateful for all the things you are lucky enough to be able to return to at the end of the placement.
For my Action at Home project, I made a video to share my experience with others. I hope this will inspire other young people to try to do something to help others, whether that is through undertaking a project like Raleigh ICS or donating to an international NGO.
Raleigh ICS certainly isn’t an easy experience; it can be very challenging at times! At the end of the day, when you know that the work you’ve done may improve somebody’s life, then it is all worth it.”