In Tanzania, ICS alumni and members of the National Youth Engagement Network are finding safe ways to continue their voluntary efforts during the current pandemic. Suma and Paul explain how they are moving their focus to radio shows and providing educational resources for marginalised communities.
Paul, 24, Mwanza region
As a youth reporter, Paul uses radio shows to reach over 5,000 people in Mwanza, Tanzania, informing communities about issues from employment, sexual health and now: staying safe in the COVID-19 pandemic.
After his ICS placement in 2015, Paul found his confidence grew and he started training young people on how to talk about various issues on the radio.
“The radio is such a great platform to reach people in the community. People listen to our shows and really trust what we are saying,” explains Paul.
“We discuss so many things on our radio shows but now we are focusing on the importance of social distancing, staying at home, hygiene and government updates. After our show, people from the community who have been listening will phone and tell us what they have learnt from the show – it’s amazing to see we’re making a difference,” Paul adds.
For Paul, being an active citizen during this time is vital.
“I’ve learnt the importance of volunteering and working within our own countries. We can make such an important impact right at home and I’m glad to be making a difference during this time.”
Suma, 24, Mwanza region
After volunteering with ICS in her home country of Tanzania, Suma wanted to continue her efforts working with local communities through the National Youth Engagement Network. And during the COVID-19 crisis, she feels her efforts were more important than ever.
“After my placement with ICS in 2018, I became a different person. I picked up so many new skills, became more confident and learnt the importance of volunteering and the impact it can have,” says Suma.
And as COVID-19 became a pandemic, Suma knew there was no better time to work within her community. As social distancing measures were introduced, many communities in rural villages weren’t receiving the messaging that saves lives.
Suma and the NYEN network are making the three-hour journey on foot to rural villages, where they are distributing leaflets and posters to the local community and sharing the importance of social distancing and hand washing.
“It’s really important that we share this information to rural areas, who might not have access to televisions or radios or the newest government measures,” explained Suma.
“I think we’ve managed to reach around 400 people so far. The people we talk to will then go home and share the education to their families and friends and continue sharing the knowledge.”
And she’ll continue to share information among the marginalised communities where the population may otherwise not hear about safety measures during this time.
“We need to work together and continue volunteering during this time. Education can save lives and I am proud of my team members for the work they are doing in the pandemic for our country,” said Suma.