Here in Morogoro, Tanzaniza, the past week has been GO GO GO! The Chamwino Hygiene and Sanitation Improvement Project (CHASIP) that I am implementing is now in full swing. The project’s aim is to help raise the education levels and address a very poor sanitation situation at three local primary schools, in a community called Chamwino.
As part of this project we are creating after school WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) clubs at the three primary schools that will be facilitated by local high school students. These clubs will help raise education levels and create positive behavioural changes among students that currently do not use the toilets at the school (due to their poor condition), do not wash their hands with soap, and often drink unsafe water. The other part of this project is raising funds to help build more toilets and improve the old ones at these schools.
So a couple weeks ago I began recruiting for peer educators at the local high school in Chamwino. Going into this I wasn’t sure what the interest levels would be like among the students, so I put up some posters asking for applications. The posters advertised the opportunity to be a WASH Club leader at the local primary school, and that there would be training on leadership, facilitation and WASH education.
I received 21 applications! The applications were all beautifully hand written and two full pages in length (and written in excellent English). Receiving these applications was very exciting! Initially we were going to have only 6 facilitators, but in the end we decided to double the number and have two leaders per club ( 6 clubs in total). Going through these applications made me so happy, as many of the students expressed their knowledge about WASH and the fact that they really wanted to develop leadership skills and make a difference in their community.
A couple quotes from the student’s applications:
– “ I would like to develop my leadership skills because I can then promote community participation in development activities and help to maintain peace and harmony in my community.”
– “ I hope to gain peer education skills because sharing views and ideas about how to protect water and how to make water safe will make a difference in our community”
– “ I would like to be selected for this program because I want to make a difference in my community and my nation at large, through advising, training and mobilising members of the community to take care of their environment”
All of the applications were very inspiring. I then interviewed all 21 applicants. They had the choice to interview in Swahili or English, and many chose English which was great because then I could hear straight from them, their enthusiasm and commitment to make a difference. From the 21 applicants, 15 were selected for the training program.
The YCI volunteer group that has recently arrived in Morogoro, have had to hit the ground running and work hard with me to create and prepare and give the training program for the Peer Educators. We have just finished Day 2 of the training and it has been going great! The YCI volunteers have done a excellent job putting together a training covering everything from WASH education, to co-facilitation, to how to be a good peer educator and leader. There have been fun interactive sessions that I believe the local secondary school students are getting a lot from.
Tomorrow is our last training day and it is also International Youth Day with a theme of “Change Our World”! For me, tomorrow is a wonderful way to spend international youth day, I am with a great group of YCI volunteers that are empowering other local Youth to be leaders, who will then go on to make a difference in their communities with students at the primary schools!
The energy and motivation by all of these youth really reconfirms, that there is great passion and abilities found in young people that can be harnessed to make a difference in our world!
If you would like to help support these primary schools to implement sanitation improvements please see the fundraising page here: http://yciprojects.tigweb.org/project/sanitation
Also for more information on the WASH project see: http://thesustainablepath.wordpress.com
– Jamie Van Egmond, IYIP Intern, Tanzania 2011
For more International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) blogs, check out our IYIP section.