Friday, 15 July 2022

Last Update from here in Morogoro!

We have reached the final day of work for this year's internship, and while we are sad to be going soon, we are proud of what we have achieved with the menstrual hygiene project and WASH. Over the last week we have had our last meetings of the internship. We had a meeting with the Tungi Primary School administration to finalize our expected timelines and to say goodbye. We also had some interns travel to the Tanga region to meet with an organization named Community Volunteer Services (CVS). The introductory meeting was quite beneficial as CVS is currently operating a very similar menstrual health project to SIHA's. We are pleased to have learned much from them and hope that future interns can benefit from them as well.

Above we have SIHA interns Akanksha, Anastasia and Ellen in a meeting with ICR Charles and the CVS founder, Simon Mashauri.


We have also been working on preparing for next year's internship: we've transitioned
to new exec roles and are now working on recruitment plans for the next year's team.
We've also completed our final report outlining all that we have done and learnt this summer. 

Though work at the office may be done this year, We still have a week here in
Tanzania. Stay tuned to see what fun activities the interns manage to pack in before
we head out, and to find out more about next year's internship!


-Ahmed.


Monday, 4 July 2022

2 Weeks After Our Vacation!

 The interns returned from their mid-internship break 2 whole weeks ago! While the SIHA interns were away, URDI was invited to attend the African Child Day conference of Morogoro. This event was hosted by the Regional Officer for the NGOs of the Morogoro Region. It was a great opportunity for URDI to expand their network and form collaborations with other local NGOs.

As for the interns, work came in full speed ahead as soon as they got back. The week of their return, they attended meetings with the Dar es Salaam and Edmonton based Rotaries, aiming to form partnerships and build our capacity to carry out our local projects.

URDI and SIHA also hosted a SWASH day at Tungi Primary School, which was a half day event of games and sports open to the entire community. The objective was to increase awareness on the WASH and menstrual hygiene projects, as well as get a chance to engage with the community. The interns took this opportunity to run an interview station to gain more insight from the community on their awareness of menstrual health and hygiene.

Above is a photo of our intern Akanksha conducting interviews on SWASH day.


As for last week, we are happy to say that URDI began teaching the WASH curriculum at Tungi Primary School. This was an important goal we are glad to have achieved, we are also continuing to work on expanding to other schools. 

Here we have a photo of Pastone, one of our ICVs, delivering instruction to the SWASH club.


Despite being near the end of the internship, the interns have not lost their thirst for adventures. First they took a tour of Mzumbe University as part of their cultural exchange sessions. Next, they completed an 8 hour hike to Bondwa peak, which is the third highest mountain in Morogoro.

 

On the left is a view from bondwa mountain looking down on Morogoro region. On the right we have one of Mzumbe’s many courtyards where students can study or relax with friends.

-Ahmed.




Monday, 6 June 2022

Almost Halfway Done!

We are now nearly halfway through the internship and time seems to be flying by! The interns have adapted well and have settled into a comfortable routine; on weekdays they start the day with a breakfast of Chapati and egg, then head off to the office to start work at around 8:30. The interns break for lunch at around 12:30. For lunch they often pick up a variety of fresh fruits from the  Madizini market-which is only a few minutes walk away.  Work at the office is usually wrapped up at 3:30. 

The team spends the remainder of the day going on walks and hikes to explore Morogoro, head to the local gym for exercise, and almost everyone spends some of their leisure time reading before dinner. After dinner, the interns use the time before bed to wind down by journaling, watching a movie, or playing card games (Dutch blitz is all the rage!). 


Saturdays are very similar to the weekdays except that it's a half day, interns will usually use the extra time to head to town to get the necessities of the week. Sundays, however, are often packed full of adventure as interns often take that day to try something new. Last week, the interns held a cultural exchange meeting with students from Mzumbe University.  It was extremely enjoyable to see their perspectives and to see the similarities and differences in our daily lives!


Furthermore, the interns have finally completed the project proposals for our WASH expansion project and the accompanying menstrual hygiene curriculum project. The internship has been progressing at a good pace and the interns are happy with what they have accomplished so far. Now they are looking forward to a well earned week off!

Pictured above are the students of Mzumbe university, SIHA and URDI together after our cultural exchange dinner.

-Ahmed.


Monday, 30 May 2022

Menstrual hygiene day was last week, which is important to SIHA because of the ongoing stigma and challenges faced by young girls all over the world while menstruating. To combat this issue here in Morogoro, SIHA and our URDI partner  continue to work on the Menstrual Health project aiming to empower school-aged girls to ask questions about menstruation and gain the skills necessary to manage their periods. 

The interns were also fortunate enough to visit the APOPO operation grounds here in Morogoro. APOPO is a non profit created by a Belgian university student; it focuses on training giant African pouch rats to save lives by detecting landmines and tuberculosis in sputum samples. It was a great experience to see the operations and strategies of a highly successful NGO. It was also a great deal of fun to see the rats in action! 


This Sunday the interns went on a Safari in Mikumi national park! As expected, it was a wonderful experience to see the animals in their habitat and to watch them interact with each other; lions, eland-antelope, giraffes, hippos, wildebeest and much more. Our special thanks go to Lazaro of Mbegha tours as he set up this wonderful experience for us.

 

The SIHA team preparing to set out early in the morning on Sunday.

After seeing a fully grown lion up close, one can be sure that their reputation as kings of the jungle is well deserved! -Ahmed.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Ending the Week on a "High" Note!

It was quite a busy week for our international team; firstly, the SIHA interns along with our partners in URDI met with stakeholders of Tungi Primary School. We discussed with the health teachers and the principal the current successes and limitations of our WASH project and potential improvements. The meeting was fruitful in many different ways; the interns were able to see the impact of the past years' internships and were given new resolve as a result. The meeting also brought up the discussion of community need for an addition of a menstrual health module to be added to the WASH curriculum. 

The interns were also pleased to have an introductory meeting with the Youth Power Organization founder, Charles Makongo. The YPO is a local youth led, non profit organization dedicated to empowering the next generation through community service. We were inspired by their work and are hopeful that we will find an opportunity to partner with the YPO in the near future. 


The interns ended the week on a high note with a 13km trek to the scenic Choma falls. With their spirits lifted by the breathtaking views and their bodies rejuvenated by a shower in the waterfall, the interns are feeling refreshed and eager to take on the next busy week!


-Ahmed






Monday, 16 May 2022

SIHA Interns Return to Morogoro!

 SIHA's interns are finally back in Morogoro, Tanzania after 2 long years! Due to the Covid 19 pandemic the interns were unable to travel for 2020 and 2021. However, the inspired and adaptable minds here at SIHA were able to continue to work on projects in a virtual space. Now that we are back in person we are extremely excited to work with our partners in URDI face to face; even more exciting is the prospect of working hands-on with the community and actually experiencing the rich culture of Morogoro!

 In fact, the new interns have already had their first taste of the market here in Morogoro, as they have bought necessities for the amazing new house they'll be staying at(many thanks to URDI for finding it for us).

Other than settling in, the interns have been enjoying the views of the beautiful mountainside on their morning walks, sampling delicious local foods like Ugali and listening to as many famous Tanzanian songs as they can find. It's not all fun and games though, the interns have began their volunteer meetings and are already starting to plan for the projects ahead! 


Stay tuned to the blog to see weekly updates on the 2022 SIHA interns and their adventures here in Morogoro. Check out our website to learn more about who SIHA and our URDI partners are and what we do!



SIHA's 2022 International Travel Team with URDI member , Pili(furthest left).


-Ahmed-Nasser







Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Interns Turned Story Writers

 



After a few weeks of more bonding, WASH planning, Swahili lessons and informative feedback, the team has been busy. Our favourite, Madame Jane, brought out the creativity in us.  The interns -now turned story writers- have come up with engaging & intriguing scenarios for our WASH evaluation. Other than the regular shmegular (but very important) student questionnaires, the scenarios give the students a fun way to portray their WASH curriculum retention. Just as we were in 7th grade, the attention span of preteens don’t have the best track record, which is why a storytime scenario situation will be perfect for engagement. With the WASH evaluation well on its way, we will shift our focus to our new menstrual hygiene project! The team helped Anastasia’s brilliant idea of making a dedicated infographic instagram post for world menstrual health day, which enabled us to gather some background knowledge useful for our upcoming project.


In other news, the current SIHA interns have been exploring executive positions for the upcoming year with help from the current execs. To say that we are excitedly inspired would be an understatement. In hopes to achieve our goals, the team has been hopping into various different fundraising ideas such as a bottle drive, makeup master class, cooking with me’s, and of course, the silent auction. 


The drive (not the google drive, but it’s okay because we’re fixing that!) within the team is still going at an upwards trajectory, and we are more than excited to be beginning our new project :)