RB and Raleigh Tanzania: Volunteers share knowledge and skills to drive behaviour change in rural Tanzania

13th June 2019

Water contamination, inadequate sanitation infrastructure, poor hygiene behaviours, and lack of knowledge around good hygiene practices are commonplace in rural Tanzania with diarrheal diseases and cholera outbreaks as leading causes of death. Raleigh Tanzania and RB’s ‘Healthier lives, Happier homes’ project sets out to tackle this issue.

RB volunteers from 23 countries have partnered with Raleigh Tanzania on a two-week Global Volunteer Challenge to design behaviour change interventions which support the sustained uptake of healthy hygiene and sanitation behaviours, with a focus on empowering school children to cascade positive hygiene practices in their homes and wider community.

Layla Hassan (Research and Development, RB) highlights the vastness of skills and importance of diversity which the project brings: “Whether it’s our work background or our culture, we are able to explore a lot of different perspectives on the issue which is really handy in designing new and innovative interventions.”

Throughout the week volunteers have undergone workshops on behaviour change and worked in teams to uncover key insights and aspects which drive behaviours in rural Tanzania. For many, the recent village visits to Kongwa, Dodoma and Kilombero, Morogoro have been an eye-opening experience that have brought about new considerations and shaped their intervention ideas:

“The village visits were a great opportunity to give us practical knowledge of hygiene and sanitation behaviours in the village and understand how our intervention ideas might work in practice” – Nasra Ngume, Raleigh Tanzania Volunteer

Key themes from the village visits included a disparity between knowledge and practice; teams found that whilst many community members knew of the importance of handwashing, they were still not putting this into practice. Similarly, quality infrastructure existed in many of the villages, however water scarcity and economic commitments for sustainable upkeep turned hygienic facilities into a burden for members of the community.

Ayetree Goswami (Consumer Insights, RB) shares her experience: “It’s a moment of realisation when you are able to see the reality of the problem and absorb it. Our team went to the village with many hypothesis such as there would be a lack of knowledge but we were proved wrong and found that the knowledge was there, there was just no motivation to change.”

Understanding barriers and cultural considerations for changing behaviours will be integral for intervention ideas to succeed. Volunteers are now back in Morogoro, sharing their experiences and applying their skills and knowledge to address challenges presented from their village visits: “The collaboration between Raleigh and RB has been key for designing innovative ideas. It’s a fantastic way to bring a mix of people with different skills and work with Raleigh volunteers who have amazing insights on the reality of the context” – Karol Brzoska (Research and Development, RB)

Energy at the training centre in Morogoro is high with teams busy refining their intervention ideas to bridge some of the gaps identified and develop into project proposals. Teams will soon undergo a pitching event, where the successful interventions will be selected to be trialed across 30 rural communities throughout July – December this year with support from RB.

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