Problem Addressed

The Soap Road Show is designed to reach communities who have little or no access to sanitation facilities and poor hygiene practices. Many people living in communities targeted by the road show have no latrines and also do not wash their hands with soap. Also, most people lack sufficient clean water for cooking, hand washing and toilet use.

While the local government is responsible for sanitation planning, to date insufficient resources and effort have been allocated to tackling the problems associated with widespread poor sanitation and hygiene. As a result, water-borne diseases, and other diseases related to poor sanitation and hygiene, are common among households.

Furthermore, people with disabilities, including children, face extra challenges because they do not have toilets which meet their specific needs at school or in the home.

Innovative Approach

TAWASANET’s road show is an innovative approach to behavior change and unique in its region. The roadshow is inclusive and caters to the needs of the majority where other interventions tend to be highly targeted. For example, the road show is designed to speak to multiple stakeholders including children, communities and local government officials. Their approach is universally applicable throughout Tanzania. The team has taken the roadshow to 8 regions across the country, working with local officials to tailor it to the local needs. Their work to popularize simple toilets which serve people, especially children, with disabilities is also innovative.

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Program Solution

The TAWASANET Soap Road Show is designed: 1. to engage and sensitize communities to the importance of washing their hands with soap, 2. to promote the construction and proper use of toilets at both the household and school levels, 3. to educate communities about the link between hygiene and environmental protection, 4. to encourage District Councils to allocate satisfactory resources and budgets for the construction of proper toilets in schools and other sanitation facilities, and 5. to ensure that a sufficient number of those are accessible by people with special needs. The road show is designed to be inclusive, fun and educational. The program aims to meet the needs of a variety of stakeholders, including children, communities and local government. It is also replicable across the country. In 2013, the road show covered 8 regions in Tanzania. TAWASANET capitalizes on the momentum created by global events such as Global Hand Washing Day, World Toilet Day, and Sanitation Week.

The program tyically continues for 1-2 weeks, depending on the number of regions that are covered in a particular year. Based on the time and resource constraint, each district is given one day. It involves a team made up of TAWASANET staff and trained educators and behavior change specialists travelling to public spaces in regions which have been identified by local government officials as having significant need. They travel in a branded truck which has a giant soap bar attached to the roof. Once set up they turn the area around the truck into a performance space and use a loudspeaker system to draw people in. TAWASANET hires artists and educators to help attract people, especially children, and then entertains them through educational games, special puppets shows, acrobatics, and traditional dance shows.

The road show also includes time for educational discussions and demonstrations. For example, the team hosts question and answer sessions about toilet use, hand washing with soap and environmental conservation. They also showcase simple, affordable toilet models, including a wooden chair toilet which is designed for people with special needs, to encourage people to buy toilets and also to construct based on their economic capacity. In the past, the road show has been so effective it has raised money from the community to support the purchasing and construction of a number of toilets and hand washing facilities.