“My hands, my future”: the community campaign changing hygiene behaviour in Tanzania

Victoria David volunteered with Raleigh Tanzania on two cycles as an ICS Team Leader on the Rural Inclusive Sustainable Enterprise Through Youth (RISE) project at the end of 2019 in Mbogo, Mvomero region Tanzania and early 2020 in Mkindo, Mvomero region Tanzania. Here, she talks about how her experiences led her to work alongside other young people on a campaign to improve health and hygiene behaviours across Tanzanian communities.

“My Raleigh Tanzania journey has been a cornerstone of what am currently doing. I have learned how to be an active citizen and a change maker to the challenges facing my community. During my placement I acquired different skills such as leadership, entrepreneurship, and communication. Being passionate about active citizenship and bringing solutions to the challenges that exist within my community led me to connect with other youth and start a movement called “Kidumu Chirizi”.

“Kidumu Chirizi” is a Swahili phrase which means “tippy tap” in English. Our campaign is a sustainable community-based project which focuses on hygiene behaviour change to help prevent and control the spread of diseases in Tanzania through hand washing. With this campaign we are supporting Global Goals 3, Good Health and Wellbeing, and 6, Clean Water and Sanitation.

“Kidumu Chirizi”

When I was volunteering with Raleigh Tanzania, we were unable to complete the project due to declaration of a global pandemic. Our volunteering journey was cut short and we had to return home for our health and safety.

Through the training and skills I gained with Raleigh Tanzania, we were able to unite more than 10 young people to make a difference in our communities on the issue of hand washing by constructing tippy taps. The global pandemic pushed us to take immediate action to start a hand washing campaign.

Our Raleigh ICS project has impacted largely on this campaign because tippy taps are a technology we used during water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) placement. This also triggered hygiene behaviour change in me personally. So, with my team, we thought of implementing this innovation in an advanced way through the campaign. Our slogan is “mkono wangu, afya yangu”, which means ‘my hand, my health’. So far team work and leadership skills learnt while volunteering has been the cornerstone of the success of our campaign. We now have more than 200 volunteers across Tanzania.

The volunteers involved in campaign activities are raising awareness about WASH in communities, training community groups that will be responsible for monitoring and tracking progressive changes in the community that the project will cover, installing foot operated hand washing stations into local government’s offices, hospitals, schools, homestays, and other places where a large number of people pass through. We were also able to form WASH clubs in schools we worked with and delivered school WASH lessons so that the children can take what they have learnt back into their homes and community.

Impact of “Kidumu Chirizi” campaign

The campaign so far has been successful and there is emerging evidence of hygiene behaviour change in the communities we have worked with due to accessibility of the “Kidumu Chirizi”. We have installed foot operated handwashing stations in five schools, at the Regional Commissioner Office in Dar es Salaam, at local government officials and in more than three private offices.

Also, through our campaign people have become aware of the benefits of washing their hands washing as the way of preventing and controlling the spread of diseases transmitted due to poor sanitation. Involvement of mass media in this campaign, like radio and television, means communities can easily access information about proper handwashing techniques.

We hope to grow this project and cover the whole country. But at the same time we want to continue to improve the project to be sustainable and to ensure we have an effective impact.”

To read more of what is happening with the “Kidumu Chirizi” campaign, you can visit the Instagram @kidumu_chirizi_campaign and the website http://www.kidumuchiriziproject.co.tz/.