Opening Ceremony for Raleigh Youth-led School Sanitation & Hygiene Project

7th September 2018

How is an Opening Ceremony for Raleigh WASH facilities significant in ensuring community ownership for the future?

Opening ceremonies are an essential part of celebrating the success of each WASH project. They also help to ensure projects are successfully maintained and sustainable once Raleigh volunteers depart from villages. From a volunteer perspective, a WASH placement is considered finished once all construction is completed, the murals have been painted on the walls and our teams have delivered their full programme of WASH lessons and mobilisation meetings. However, this is just a part of a bigger picture that involves Local Government Authorities (LGAs), Raleigh staff and village School Management Committees (SMCs). During the final SMC meeting involving Raleigh volunteers, the project is formally handed over, with community members signing a contract to say that they will continue to work together on and take responsibility for operation and maintenance of the facilities.

WASH facilities at Mkombozi Primary Schoolin the village of Mvungurumo on day of Opening Ceremony

“The whole community have to take responsibility for the upkeep of the toilets. I am from the school committee, so I will take my responsibility and make sure others do too. We are feeling prepared to do it.” Mkwai Mbumi, SMC member, Mvungurumo

All of this carefully considered mobilisation work is to ensure the long-term sustainability of these WASH projects. Members of the Raleigh Programmes Team will continue to monitor progress of the projects for a period of time after volunteers leave the village, giving additional training and capacity-building support as needed.

Raleigh Tanzania deliver programmes through our Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the Government of Tanzania. We have MOUs with two ministries, namely The Prime Minister’s Office: Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth & the Disabled, and the President’s Office Regional Administration & Local Government (PO RALG). We also have MOUs with several LGAs. These ensure that the aims of our work align with the development aims of the Government of Tanzania, and that the outcomes are sustainable for generations to come.

Opening Ceremony in Mvungurumo Village, Kongwa

To officially open new sanitation facilities, Raleigh volunteers alongside an empowered community organise a symbolic and celebratory ceremony. In Mvungurumo, (in Kongwa district) the village worked tirelessly with the help of our young volunteers to get everything ready for the big event, which saw people journey from afar to attend. In attendance from the Department of Youth were Esther Riwa, Assistant Director and Amina Sanga, Youth Officer. The Guest of Honour was the District Commissioner of Kongwa, Mr. Deogratius Ndejembi. Also present were Dr Omary Nkullo, District Executive Director and Mr. Mzenga T. Mzenga, District Education Officer (Primary).

District Commissioner and Guest of Honour, Mr. Deogratius Ndejembi

The atmosphere on the day of the opening ceremony in Mvungurumo was electric. Traditional music groups and dancers performed a spectacle which was both impressive and humbling. The school SWASH club sang and danced for an audience including the entire community of Mvungurumo and their important guests.

SWASH club performing for their guests, Mvungurumo

“I feel very good today. Not only is this day important for me but for all people in the village because we have this opening of our new school toilets. We are feeling ready to be SWASH ambassadors.” Eva Chomola, SWASH club member, Mvungurumo

The honourable guest, Mr. Ndejembi spoke eloquently in both Kiswahili and English about how grateful he was for the work Raleigh have done in Mvungurumo. He also expressed hope that Raleigh’s WASH projects will continue to be delivered in other schools across the region of Dodoma. After cutting the ribbon, the facilities were officially declared open and guests were led on a tour of facilities. The show of support from the community of Mvungurumo was strong as they attended to witness this momentous occasion. The sense of elation was palpable, and the Raleigh team were feeling extremely proud to have been able to be a part of this wonderful community and exciting work.

Community group providing beautiful and lively entertainment for Opening Ceremony, Mvungurumo

“This is a big project that Raleigh has delivered here in Mvungurumo. It is very important to have a ceremony like this to bring people together to know and understand the project and the people involved. And to celebrate what we have achieved: the community and the Raleigh team together.” Hassan, Raleigh Expedition volunteer

 

Words by Communications Officer Lou McGowan.

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