SAFE Trachoma Project
The 15 months (2017 to 2018) trachoma pilot project was implemented by CASEC in eight primary schools of Monduli and Longido districts (Losingirani, Nanja , Selela and Mbaashi primary schools for Monduli district and Kiseriani, Ngareyani, Tingatinga and Sinya primary schools for Longido district ). The purpose of the project was to prevent trachoma in the project areas by addressing issues related to best hygiene (facial clearness and environmental hygiene) at household and community level. This project was funded by SITE SERVERS and managed by SIMAVI of Netherlands
The project focused on sensitization of school children, teachers, community, leaders and community members on good WASH practices as means to prevent Trachoma. The main activities of the project focused on good practices of wash while two focused on school curriculum to find out if the school curriculum included WASH issues, the other two focused on social marketing of the project and the remain two schools focused on the school led total sanitation which aimed at school children influencing parents on best practices of WASH as a way of preventing Trachoma in the community.
CASEC worked in collaboration with relevant district and ward government officials. Response of target groups and partners on the ground was good. The main activities included sensitization through trainings and meetings with beneficiaries and stakeholders as well as curriculum review by teachers, relevant district and ward officials. other activity were distribution of teaching and training materials to school health clubs, strengthening of school health clubs, distribution of hand wash facilities in schools, home visiting, identification of suppliers of WASH materials with the project community.
During the 15 months of the project implementation, a project was able to reach a total of 3093 beneficiaries, community leaders and community members. It was observed that, school, children had adopted the habit of washing their hands after visiting toilets, this was due to the provision of improved hand was facilities in those schools, washing their hands before and after eating and washing their faces every morning. At home, they pressurize their parents to ensure that there is water all the time for washing their hands and faces. Community members learned the importance of environmental clearness however culture was a big setback to adopt fast changes. For example the use of toilets.
People started clearing their compounds using the locally made brooms. There was good collaboration between the project staff, government officials and community leaders.
the main challenges experienced during the implementation of the project included inadequate sources of clean and safe water in the project area, semi-dry weather, nomadic pastoralist life, inadequate community awareness on the importance of good hygiene practices, traditions and customs, few organizations addressing Trachoma related issues in the project and inadequate budget and time over the implementation of the project.
There is a need after the completion of the pilot project to continue and expand the Trachoma prevention project in the two districts and beyond.