Leading by example to set sanitation and hygiene standards at a Tanzanian village

HARUMA
Story
By
Aidan Tarimo
eading by example to set sanitation and hygiene standards at a Tanzanian village

KONGWA, Tanzania – 28-year-old Huruma is the Village Executive Officer at the Tanzanian village of Msunjilile B in Kongwa District. Whenever the sun rises, Huruma sets out with one goal – serving her people with honour and dignity. At the core of her duties lies the call to make sure her people live peacefully and in good health. There are many layers to this call, but sanitation and hygiene lies at the centre.

eading by example to set sanitation and hygiene standards at a Tanzanian village

 

With the support of WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund, the Sanitation and Hygiene Programme in Tanzania (UMATA) works with leaders like Huruma to help communities attain and sustain ODF status and increased access and use of improved sanitation facilities, coupled with bringing sanitation and hygiene change to scale. UMATA is part of the National Sanitation Campaign and is implemented by Plan International through local government authorities.

In a company of health officers, community leaders and local health workers, Huruma moves from house to house to educate villagers on the need to build and use toilets and handwashing facilities.

“As a leader, I have the duty to keep this village safe. I work with other leaders and community members to realize the safety of our community health system,” says Huruma.

She believes that a community health system becomes safe only if everyone plays her or his part. If there is a breach somewhere, it becomes fragile for all.

“A community health system could only be resilient if all people observe sanitation and hygiene practices, which include building improved toilets and having functional handwashing facilities,” she said.

Haruma has taken steps to secure an improved toilet facility at the village bureau as well as keeping its environment clean.

“If you walk the talk, the people you lead will also be inspired to take actions. Imagine coming to the bureau, and you find a dirty toilet or no toilet at all or unclean environment. Will you understand me when I come tomorrow to teach you about sanitation and hygiene?”

Working in the village for years, Huruma has been able to build trust among community members, establishing good working relationships with both political and natural leaders. Together, they have been able to adopt sustainable improvements in sanitation and hygiene.

The village has been able to attain open defecation free (ODF) status, emerging as a winner in different sanitation and hygiene competitions.

“As a leader, you need to show the vision and work with your people in setting sanitation and hygiene standards that could be adopted and lived by all.”

HARUMA 2

 

With the support of WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund, the Sanitation and Hygiene Programme in Tanzania (UMATA) works with leaders like Huruma to help communities attain and sustain ODF status and increased access and use of improved sanitation facilities, coupled with bringing sanitation and hygiene change to scale. UMATA is part of the National Sanitation Campaign and is implemented by Plan International through local government authorities.