The Cause

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What is happening?

According to the 2010 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS, 2010, p.22), only 56.2 percent of Tanzanians have access to improved drinking water (such as a piped source within the dwelling, yard or plot, a public tap, tube well or borehole, a protected well and a spring or rainwater). The problem is worse during dry seasons and in dry areas. Additionally, the TDHS states that only 13 percent of households in Tanzania have improved toilet facilities. This is a serious issue, and has lead to an open defecation problem which is a common phenomena in Tanzania. There are several causative factors, including traditional beliefs that it is taboo to share a latrine with relatives and hence preference by those who share the belief to prefer open defecation. For this reason, Tanzania has a high burden of disease rates as a result of water, sanitation, and hygiene issues.

Increasing access to water and sanitation are key elements in accelerating progress towards the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. With the goal being to ensure environmental sustainability, the Sanitation Program, which has been recently approved to work in collaboration with Plan Canada situated in Tanzania, will coordinate a program that will improve water sanitation in order to improve health-related issues.

Improved sanitation and hygiene practices leads to reduced amounts of fecal contamination, fewer incidents of diarrhea, reduced exposure to parasites, while better quality of water supplies lead directly to improved health not only at the individual level, but also at the family and community level, and by extension, for the nation as a whole. The main components of the Sanitation Program will be to provide access to improved sanitation with a designated place for hand washing with soap and to provide practicing for improved hygiene behaviours.

What is being done?

Since 1991, Plan Canada has been working in Tanzania helping youth, children, and families that are in need. They have been providing these poor children with their rights to health, education, sanitation, livelihoods, and protection.

There are 5 general areas of need in Tanzania. Plan Tanzania has put forth activity in each of these areas: community health, education, water and sanitation, sustainable livelihoods, and “sauti ya watoto” – giving children a voice to participate in issues that affect them. There are five Program Units located across Tanzania where each of these issues are being put forth, in addition to their headquarters in Dar Es Salaam.

Currently, Tanzania has put forth and implemented Community-Led Total Sanitaton (CLTS), which is an approach that inspires communities to stop open-air defecation because of its negative impact on health. So far CLTS has been introduced in over 60 villages, many of which who have declared themselves ‘open-defecation free’. Achieving an Open Defecation Free (ODF) status will be considered a community health milestone and not an endpoint in of itself. The focus of the program is to work towards moving households and communities up the sanitation ladder from their current status to one of having improved facilities used by all members of the family.

In 2013, the Sanitation Program will work in partnership with Plan Tanzania to put forth their hand washing program, as well as the educating with the members of the community.These programs will teach the community members the appropriate measures that need to be taken in order to maintain the healthy lifestyle that is envisioned for Tanzania.

How am I contributing?

For my project, I will be specifically focusing on the cause to promote water and environmental health in Tanzania. In collaboration with the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) and Plan Tanzania, I will be fundraising money that will help address safe drinking water, poor sanitation and hygiene practices and environment degradation. In addition, this will help to ensure that the communities and families are within a sustainable livelihood and that their overall well-being will improve. Action will be made by helping the youth and adult members of the Tanzanian communities acquire skills that will help them understand the appropriate measures needed to be taken when presented with water resources. My money will contribute to hand washing stations, soap, several public water resources, and much more. These water sources will not only be accessible to them but will also act as an important source that will help to maintain their future healthy lifestyle, and in turn aid these communities in moving forward to their potential.

After I have completed my trek amongst Africa’s beautiful Mt. Kilimanjaro, I will be rewarded with the opportunity to visit these communities in Tanzania that I have been able to assist in receiving these water sources through my fundraising. I will be able to meet with the people that have benefited from my project as well as interact with the very people that have continued to make this cause and my project possible.

How can you help?

I am inviting you to take part in my Climb for Cause, as well as my project as a whole. You can contribute by donating and helping me to fundraise for this very cause by clicking on my ‘Contribute to the Cause’ link on the side of my blog.

Also, feel free to visit Plan Canada, and Plan Tanzania if you would like to do much more, like make a project of your own, sponsor a child, or to make a donation.

To learn more about the GSF Sanitation Programme in Tanzania, visit: http://www.wsscc.org/countries/africa/tanzania/global-sanitation-fund. Or learn about Plan Canada’s contribution in Tanzania here: http://plan-international.org/where-we-work/africa/tanzania/what-we-do.

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