At the end of last month, expedition team Alpha 2 received a special visit from Kate Tinsley and Adrian Watts, CEO and Managing Director of Buildbase / Hirebase respectively, who are funding the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project at Nanenane primary school in Nyamwezi. Kate and Adrian were keen to see the progress of the project, speak to community members and join the volunteers working on site.
Arriving at the site in Nyamwezi, Paul and myself noticed two brand new members of the Alpha 2 team. Kate and Adrian, accompanied by James Sutton, head of corporate partnerships, were in full work site gear and getting stuck in with various tasks around the toilet block construction site. Greeted by the Alpha 2 team, the visitors had flown all the way from the UK to see for themselves how the project was progressing and how the volunteers were developing.
As well as participating in the construction side of the project, Adrian had the chance to observe a hygiene management lesson for male students at Nanenane, led by volunteers Rory, Emmanuel, Nick and Ben. Adrian watched as the Alpha 2 volunteers facilitated the lesson, which was around how diseases and illness such as diarrhoea and cholera spread, and the class was split into four groups who were then asked to identify the causes and how to avoid them.
News of Kate and Adrian’s visit spread through the community, who were eager to meet the people who made the Nanenane project possible. Alpha 2 volunteer managers Renatha, Dan and Abi organised a meeting between the UK visitors and community members including the headmaster and teachers at Nanenane school, the chairman of Nyamwezi village and a parent in the community, some of who make up the 13 members of the school management committee who share responsibilities; this will include maintaining the 18 new toilet blocks as well as the menstrual hygiene management (MHM) room and handwashing stations. Before the project, 1,200 students shared 8 toilets and as Nicholas, the headmaster pointed out, “Now they have an attracting environment, they will have their own safe space instead of staying at home for a long time and miss out on school”, he expanded on the importance of the volunteer contribution, “Creating a good relationship, exchanging ideas and activities in the community – for example playing football together. It is a good thing they are younger people.”
Their time was productive, and they were reassured by a school committee who believed in the lasting change element of the project and predicted collaboration between the school and local government as an essential aspect of ensuring maintenance of the blocks as well as the content taught in the lessons. Regarding the Buildbase / Hirebase partnership with Raleigh, Rory had no doubt, “It says a lot with Kate and Adrian coming out here to see the project, working on it. Some people here are 19 and have just started working in the company; to get that relationship and seeing that is a massive thing”.
Words by Miguel. Images by Paul.
First appeared on the Raleigh Tanzania blog