International Volunteer Day (IVD) is a day celebrated by the United Nations since 1985. The day falls on 5 December, where it offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations, individual volunteers and communities to celebrate and promote their contributions at local, national and international levels- focusing on the achievement of the millennium development goals.
This year’s Volunteer Day falls in the last week of Team Sapitwa Four. Being an environmental based team, Sapitwa 4 thought it wise to have a cleanup at Namphungo Health Centre and later on an awareness campaign on waste management at the centre, which has a market nearby.
Departing the offices at 5:30 A.M was the first challenge of the day. A 40 Kilometers drive from the office to the Health Centre on that dusty road was not easy but it was worth it.
Getting to Namphungo Health Centre around 7:00 A.M, we found the active Ayun youth club, which was lead by the medical assistant of the Centre Alex Nthakati, already at the centre waiting for our arrival.
Team Sapitwa and Ayun Youth Club mopping
With us were 15 mops, 15 brushes, 20 brooms, 10 buckets, wasters and washing powder. Without wasting time the team of 28 was split into two groups; one group cleaning outside, sweeping and cleaning the windows, while the other group worked inside sweeping, mopping and cleaning some of the utensils.
Team Sapitwa Sweeping
Within a time range of two hours of clean up at the hospital the once littered Namphongo Health Centre was tidy up and looked beautiful. From dirty windows to shiny windows, from littered grounds to clean grounds, shiny floor and clean utensils was what was left at the health centre. Work well done!
The mops, cleaning brushes, brooms, buckets, wasters and washing powder were left at the Health Centre to be used in their day to day cleaning. You can imagine from zero mops to 15 mops, from broken buckets to 10 new buckets, from broken brushes to new brushes, what more can a hospital ask for? We cannot forget the smiling faces, from the dark to the light.
The team shines windows
Done with the clean up, we were now ready and energised for the awareness campaign on waste management at the same health centre. Conveniently, it is very close to a market thereby having awareness campaign targeting two different places. It was great to be able to take the hard work we had done that morning, and enhance it by bringing the message to the people of the community- who were by now very curious to see the fruits of our labour!
Team Sapitwa and Ayun Youth Club entertained and educated the audience on waste management and the importance of voluntary works through comedies, dramas and songs and dances.
In his remarks the Medical Assistant at the Health Centre Alex Nthakati said “This is a very good gesture, you have helped and assisted this hospital and the community a lot, we thank you for the cleanup and everything that you have brought here, this has encouraged the whole community to take part in voluntary work.”
Luis Michero, a community member who is also a member of Ayun Youth Club, thanked the team for coming- saying this has encouraged them to start managing their own affairs. “Your coming has encouraged us to learn and start managing our own things, imagine you guys have come a long way just to cleanup when we are here and just looking at the hospital getting dirty we aim to continue where you have left off and these cleaning materials that you have brought here will help us continue with the good work.”
Finishing the waste management campaign Team Sapitwa donated three waste bins to the Health Centre as a way of encouraging them to keep the surroundings clean. A day well spent!
Written By: Taonga Mtambo