Action days are a great way to bring together the whole community, raise awareness of Raleigh International’s vision and our work in Bwawani, and build relations and a rapport between Raleigh and the community.
We held our second action day on water safety and food hygiene at the village office in the centre of Bwawani. After our first action day, with better organisation and experience, the group were much more confident in delivering a successful event; ready to embrace the slightly chaotic but fun day ahead.
‘Planning an action day is nerve-wracking, but it is a brilliant way to engage the whole community, which is much more effective than just meetings, as it is a celebration, and the community leave with far more information, especially with the educational games- making WASH fun.’ Ellie, Charlie 5.
Like all good events, it was important to build upon reflections from the last action day. We held this at Kiberege Magereza Primary School, which is a 40-minute walk out of village. As a consequence of a disproportionate demographic of mainly pupils and elders having attended, we changed the location to central Bwawani. As Saturdays can be busy due to farming and football, we held it on a Friday afternoon instead. Singeli and games were very effective at the last action day, and were therefore incorporated this time, basing the day on speeches and WASH-adapted games.
In many places, social media serves as an effective means of advertisement but in Bwawani, the spread of information is viral. We hand-drew posters, and hired the town crier who advertises with a megaphone, while riding a bicycle around the village homes.
Organisation is key to a successful action day: we established a clear schedule which was fully understood by all team members. Additionally, delegating tasks is an important aspect to planning, ensuring the spread of responsibility and ownership of the day.
SWASH club are a group of 55 engaged students who are ambassadors of Raleigh WASH Tanzania, at Kiberege Magereza Primary School. They were a crucial part of our first action day: performing adapted traditional songs with strong WASH messages; a short drama which engaged and captured the whole audience. Being intelligent and engaged students wanting to contribute to this change, when asked, they jumped at the opportunity to perform again.
‘An amazing performance capturing the core values of Raleigh International, empowering the young people of Bwawani, to mobilise change in their own community, through education.’ Rhona and Amy, Charlie 5
Both villagers and volunteers were moved by Mr. Hemed Mkundi, the village Chairman who delivered a speech calling for support from villagers, asking them to help with construction and attend our events. This was the first time we witnessed a higher authority rallying the support of our work from the whole community; a turning point for our time here in Bwawani. Raleigh volunteers also gave short talks on water and food safety.
Overall, our action day was a huge success- 587 people attended and remained engaged throughout; we reached an older demographic, as well as youth who had previously been relatively unengaged with our WASH project, “Action days make a big difference to the community, bringing education. Not only did we enjoy the games but also the education”, said community member Sussana.
By running a successful action day, we are helping to instil long-lasting sustainable change in the community to ensure the longevity of the project upon our departure. This success was heavily reliant on Charlie 5 reflecting, and being aware of what did not go so well on our first action day. Effective planning and delegation ensured the whole team delivered a great event, while enjoying its success at the same time. We, as Charlie 5, are overjoyed with the turnout, and impact of knowledge being transferred to Bwawani village. Bwawani have shown support and self-empowerment, which will be a great source of motivation for our final weeks.
Find out more about Raleigh WASH programmes here.
Words by Amy and Rhona (Charlie 5). Edited by Miguel. Images by Charlie 5.