JOA team depart Katurukila in high spirits

27th July 2018

After spending three weeks in the village of Katurukila, our team of JOA volunteers have now arrived back in Jersey. The team were full of positivity when they returned to our base at Morogoro, having completed an impressive amount of construction and community work. Volunteer Manager Maddy tells us a bit more about the project and the experience of working with the community and Tanzanian volunteers.

“Our focus while in Katurukila has been Raleigh Tanzania’s School Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (SWASH) project. The importance of this was clear to us from the moment we walked into Katurukila Primary School and saw both the current toilets and the number of children. Our work concentrated on two areas: construction and education. We helped to construct a block of eighteen pour flush latrines for the students, and two for the teachers. The student’s toilets include separate blocks for male and female, both with a privacy wall and lockable doors, a menstruation hygiene management (MHM) room for female students, along with male and female accessible toilets for children with disabilities. The school toilets, once completed, will be spacious, clean, private and painted with murals depicting safe water and sanitation messages to encourage behaviour change.”

The JOA volunteers worked tirelessly to complete their construction tasks in preparation for the arrival of the next team in Katurukila. The next group of volunteers will finish the work and build a hand washing station, which will use collected rain water to provide a clean place for washing hands with soap after using the toilet.

JOA team members Lee and Rueben working on mural
JOA team members Lee and Rueben working on mural on the boy’s toilet block

“Alongside construction, one of our aims has been to help build the knowledge of the students at the school, and the wider community, about safe water and sanitation practices. We have been teaching SWASH lessons to all students at the school, where we concentrated hand and personal hygiene practices. So far, we have taught all standards [year groups] about why it is important to wash their hands and how this can prevent illness. We have delivered lessons on how to construct and use tippy taps. We also set up a tippy tap outside the old toilets for use until the new facilities are ready.”

“We need to bring ourselves together to build and encourage more tippy taps as they’re very easy to construct.” Johnathan Higgins, JOA volunteer

A Katurkila Primary School pupil using newly constructed tippy tap to wash his hands

What is a tippy tap? A tippy tap is a make shift hand washing station, made from recycled materials such as sticks, string and a water bottle. Before leaving Katurukila, the JOA team built tippy taps around the village, at the school and outside homes. 

“I think they (tippy taps) are a fantastic idea and very important too.” Sue MacDonald, JOA volunteer

Meeting with community members led by JOA team

Maddy continued, “As well as lessons in the school we held meetings with three groups from the community; women, elders and youth. In the meetings we provided information about the topics we were teaching and asked for help and support to educate the children and wider community on these matters. We also held a successful community action day. This was an opportunity for the whole village to come together and learn about the importance of hand hygiene. We played games and ran competitions for example, tippy tap building competitions, which provided us the opportunity to deliver the message to as many community members as possible.”

JOA’s work with Raleigh Tanzania has contributed volunteers through the community work project scheme and funding for WASH projects. We hope this important partnership will lead to healthier and happier children at Katurukila Primary School and many others across rural Tanzania.

Words by Maddy Thomas, edited by Lou McGowan

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