Water, Sanitation and Hygiene success stories – the Tum Team
by Basazin Minda
Awassa, Ethiopia: There is only one room in the town. At the restaurant in the town, there's no more than two varieties of food available.
But we UNV volunteers are happily working to accomplish our mission even in such kinds of very uncomfortable working environments. No feet of other professionals step into this town to provide technical assistance - except UNV volunteers' feet.
We love all peoples and respect their cultures without any discrimination of colour and race. The challenging Maji roads cannot stop the UNV volunteers’ mission.
We're supervising spring development activities in Sheko Woreda. Since this UNV volunteer WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Expert – me - has an agricultural and water engineering background, he provides technical assistance right at the spot for the proper utilization of natural resources and to protect negative environmental change.
Apart from the assigned Bench-Maji Zone, the UNV WaSH Expert provides country-level assistance for four different regions. He provided training on community-led total sanitation for Gambella Region, Oromia Region, Somali Region and the Southern Nations and Nationalities and Peoples Region. This was for environmental health professionals, WaSH technical teams and UNICEF WaSH technical staff.
The result obtained after these trainings was a great attitudinal change of professionals and communities. They started practical activities, both to protect their environments from any harmful practices, and to practically apply WaSH activities in their villages and obtain clean living environments.
Community members totally omit a subsidy-dependent mindset for the problems in their locality.
We provided practical training on community mobilization for local actions in the villages. The results obtained after these trainings were that all trainees believed in the community's local knowledge and were convinced to work with the community to save their environments from any harmful activities and also to tackle any problem in society.
Before the last date of the trainings, the communities immediately started practical actions to alleviate their problems by themselves. Community members started to dig their latrines by themselves without any financial and material subsidy.
Communities became highly empowered. For example, after thorough discussion among themselves, each community immediately prepared their rules and regulations by themselves to protect their environment from any harmful practices.
My blood is positive of development and charity activities. If I am living without this work, I am always thinking that is a big gap in my life. So volunteerism is a cornerstone for development work. Therefore being a volunteer is the right position for me to implement development and charity activities and bridge the gap in my life.
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