At the conclusion of our first two Youth Innovation Lab programs in Moshi, Tanzania, we had several incredible ideas, but a few in particular stood out. Bringing students' ideas to life means improving the lives of the community members while also changing stereotypes, particularly maintained in developing countries, of youth as helpless to create change.
Disney and YSA agreed with our methodology on harnessing youth innovation in developing countries to create sustainable, localized change. Through the Be Inspired grant, AYANA worked with our partner, Tanzania Rural Empowerment Organization, to fully fund a project that would support the principle of WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene): The Majengo School Hand-Washing Center.
In Tanzania, 38% of water points are not functional. Hygiene Behavior Change is critical to achieving the benefits of improved WASH system; moreover, sustainability depends upon proper planning, stakeholder involvement, and understanding of the need and processes for maintenance.
This project was designed, implemented, and used by youth. This is the future of sustainable problem-solving!
This hand-washing center is an incredible improvement from the previously used system of the Tippy Tap (a stick laid on top of two other sticks, with gallons of water tipped by a pedal at the bottom), which. While effective in areas where more innovative, effective systems of hand washing would not be available, certainly had room for improvement.
We've been hard at work this past month to prepare materials to brand the center, prepare budget plans, create models prior to construction, and more! But this week, students at the school began using the purchased materials to begin construction of the center. Full completion of the building is expected within a few weeks. But it doesn't end with construction.
Consistent with the philosophy of "Kuosha Mikono Ni Kwa Kila Mtu" ("Hand-Washing Is For Everyone"), young people will be instructing their peers and members of their communities on proper WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) practices.
These students are so excited about getting clean water (therefore avoiding illness that can keep them out of school) and they've helped in all stages of pushing for a project like this and building it. Therefore, we at AYANA know that this isn't just short-term. It's a model for a series of projects across the globe that involve real community members in the ideation, implementation, and maintenance processes.
A huge thank you to Thadei Msumanje who oversaw the funding distribution for this project!