The concept of this year’s World Water Day campaign is decidedly broad to align with the 2030 SDG agenda, demanding that everyone should have access to clean and safe water and sustainable water and sanitation regardless of where they live.
Despite a lack of infrastructure, successes in this endeavour are being made by community members in rural villages across Tanzania. With the cooperative efforts of the community in Mkamba, Kilombero District and Raleigh Tanzania volunteers, the School, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (SWASH) project continues to make progress. The SWASH project in Mkamba has recently seen the completion of two new blocks of toilets for the nearly 850 students at Juhudi Primary School. Currently Raleigh Tanzania volunteers are again working in collaboration with the community to begin construction of essential hand washing facilities adjacent to the toilet blocks, and a new teachers’ toilet block.
Marginalized groups, women, children, and disabled people are often overlooked and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need. Not so at the Raleigh SWASH project. The toilet blocks include specialised access for disabled children and offer separate facilities for young menstruating women.
Samwel Mtafya, Education Officer and Environmental Conservation Officer for schools and communities in Kilombero District, works with Raleigh to implement their SWASH projects in the district. He oversees 153 schools; each school having from 500 to 1000 children. Raleigh Tanzania has worked with Mr Mtafya and his colleagues in nine villages since June 2017. There is a large unfilled need for building water and sanitation infrastructure and, most importantly, raising awareness among communities on how to use and maintain the facilities to ensure sustainability.
Raleigh Tanzania’s SWASH projects support UN Global Goal 6 – clean water and sanitation for all – and aim to help make that goal a reality. For the young volunteers responsible for implementing the SWASH project, this means not only conducting awareness raising and educational sessions to school children, but also working with teachers, parents and the wider community to change behaviours. Sessions delivered include hand and personal hygiene for health, food preparation, and menstrual hygiene management. Volunteers also work with teachers and village leaders to develop a clear plan for the operation and maintenance of the sanitation blocks once they are completed. This increased water and sanitation awareness, and plans continued impact in the community, increases the overall health of the community and the long-term sustainability of Raleigh Tanzania SWASH projects. The use of a youth-driven model encourages everyone (local youth, partners and marginalised community members) to participate and deliver a successful project.
“Raleigh provides a really big benefit because it is a group which solves water problems in our district; especially for schools where one can find problems like diarrhea and water borne disease. So clean and safe water in schools and water in toilets improve the situation in district.” Samwel Mtafya, Education officer and Environmental Conservation Officer
Written by Johan Morris, Raleigh Tanzania volunteer Communications Officer