Jackie Perkins, Administrator, Quaker Service Australia
For those of you struggling to know what to buy as gifts for Christmas, struggle no more! Please have a good look at the QSA Living Gifts catalogue which by now should be available in your Regional Meeting, on the QSA website or available by mail from the QSA office. This is one way of letting family and friends know you are thinking of them at this time, as well as financially supporting the continued development work of QSA’s projects.QSA is involved in a variety of project activities, with a new development of community training using video equipment, which helps people with low literacy learn as quickly. Dabane Trust, located in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, supports rural, resource poor communities to develop, operate and manage their own sustainable water supply systems using hand pumps which are located during the dry season in river beds. QSA has worked with Dabane Trust since 1991 when seeding money was provided for the start of the organisation. More recently QSA has supported the installation of hand pumps and development of food gardens in communities struggling with food security and a regular water supply. In 2012/2013 QSA supported Dabane Trust to develop their training program through the creation of purpose designed videos, filmed by Dabane staff, with the script, design and acting undertaken in a participatory process with community groups. Dabane Trust had been conducting workshops – for example, on HIV/ AIDS, gender and water supply, water management and gardens, – in a conventional lecture format but realised that participants found it difficult to concentrate for extended periods, with time also being a constraint as community members had other tasks to attend to. They developed the DVDs to better engage with community members and, through the use of local community members as actors, to create a product that the participants felt they could trust and engage with.
The Gender and Clean Water Supply video was designed to outline the different and diverse roles played by women, men, boys and girls in the collection, management and use of clean water supplies. Twenty-one people from Bhejela gardens (14 women, 2 men, 3 girls and 2 boys) participated in the design and development of the video. The video demonstrates that women use water for domestic activities such as washing, drinking and bathing while men use it for income generation activities like making bricks and livestock use. It also clearly shows the long distances women and girls face as the primary carriers of water from its source to the home for all these activities, including the security risks they cope with on their journey. After watching the video a discussion is facilitated by a Dabane Trust trainer with participants, on the need for gender sensitivity in water resource management and for women, as key users, to participate in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) decision making processes. Communities have said that the video has enlightened them on the need for increased sharing of roles and responsibilities when it comes to water collection and management. For the Bhejela garden group one specific outcome of the DVD development process and its use as a training tool, has been the integration of women onto community WASH structures like the Village Water and Sanitation Sub Committee and Water Point Management committee, which previously had been dominated by men.
The HIV and AIDS awareness video was shot in Binga district, with 26 people (20 women and 6 men) from Kakapamanzi, Tusole and Tjutilamwi gardens participating in the shooting. The HIV training DVD focussed on HIV transmission, prevention, voluntary testing and positive living and was used as an awareness raising tool. The community perceived the video to be an innovative and exciting medium through which they could engage with the content. The shorter video training format also increased attendance by men at the training sessions as they felt that it did not keep them away from their income generating activities for very long.
According to Violet, a Kakapamanzi garden member, before the introduction of training videos community members only paid attention to a part of the trainings. The videos helped her to remember the issues as she was able to watch them rather than just listen to a trainer. Violet said that since the videos had been viewed in the community, stigmatisation and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) had reduced. Garden members had learned new ways of caring for PLWHAs in their households and changed their perceptions of how HIV/AIDS is transmitted. According to Dabane Trust’s strategic partner in HIV AIDS, Matabeleland AIDS Council, the DVD has led to improved knowledge levels on HIV transmission and prevention with community members talking freely about the HIV and AIDS issues – something which used to be a taboo in the past – as well as increased use of the Voluntary Counselling and testing Centres.
As you can see the projects are complex, and your contribution helps in many different ways. If you would like to learn more about our project in Zimbabwe, these links may be of interest to you. The password for access is dabane.