Working in International development was always a dream I wanted to pursue and an opportunity through the Canadian Government and a NGO – Youth Challenge International was a great first step into this world.
After a bit of a hurdle at the start of my internship (in Uganda), where civil unrest broke out, I headed to Tanzania where I would see out the rest of my internship. I was set to work with a local health organisation in a town called Morogoro, and help them develop an environmental health project. This required me to do a needs analysis of the community and determine where the greatest need was that we could develop a project around.
I focused on a informal settlement community on the outskirts of the town. Here the sanitation conditions were dismal. I decided that the primary schools were where there was a great need. I set out on creating a program that implemented primary school clubs that were focused on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and overall environmental health issues . These clubs were after school (extracurricular) clubs that were facilitated by local high school students. The high school student peer educators were recruited and trained on facilitation, leadership, WASH education and other skills to help them successfully lead the primary school WASH clubs.
The aim was to use fun interactive methods to raise awareness on WASH and environmental issues and to help enforce positive behavioral changes among the students (basic things like hand washing with soap, and using the toilets versus the field). It also empowered secondary school students to be leaders in their community.
The whirlwind of working on this project and planning for it’s longevity after I was gone, allowed me to learn more in that year than in 4 years of a degree. Between the field work, and attending a conference on Sanitation and Hygiene in India, I released that I want to pursue working in the Water,Sanitation and Hygiene sector. You can read more about by adventures in Tanzania and Uganda here.
The time in Tanzania opened my eye and allowed me to prove that no matter the obstacle, I could overcome it… especially the long distance between Base and I (which was the hardest part of this whole experience).