While 2020 has been a difficult year to push through, it's incredible women and entrepreneurs like Hoyce who keep us inspired and motivated when we need it the most.
We are so excited to introduce to you our newest RISE fellow, Dr. Hoyce Amini Mshida. Hoyce has more than ten working years experience in the public health field She holds a Ph.D. in Life Sciences majoring on Food and Nutritional Sciences, complemented by a Masters in Public Health and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Nutrition. Currently Hoyce is working as a senior public health officer at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, where she is leading a unit responsible for disease prevention.
Hoyce is based in Tanzania and works in Maasai communities across Northern Tanzania where there are serious water, sanitation and hygiene concerns. The majority are living in poor environmental conditions with limited access to water and sanitation services. Hand washing with soap during is practiced by only 12% of the population. 15% of children below the age of five experience diarrhea and fall ill with other waterborne diseases associated with poor hand-washing practices. While the community has access to water from hand-washing facilities known as tippy taps (or kibuyu-chirizi), the availability of soap remains an obstacle. This is where Hoyce comes in.
Poor WASH continues to be a potential route for disease transmission, including COVID-19. Globally, 2.4 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation.
Hoyce is hiring and training women on how to make bars of soap using locally available materials. These women will generate an income by selling any extra soap produced over and above what their immediate community requires. The intervention will address not only hand-washing practices, but also other hygiene related behaviors in the Maasai community. Hoyce will also be educating the community on the proper way to use soap and all of the critical times it must be used - education is a key component to the success of her work in order to make a sustainable, long-lasting impact.
Only 19% of people wash their hands during the four critical moments, despite the fact that hand-washing with soap is one of the cheapest, and most effective practice one can do to protect themselves from communicable diseases.
WHY MAASAI WOMEN?
Maasai are nomadic pastoralists living in the Northern part of Tanzania. Women and young girls are impacted the most by critical water, sanitation and hygiene circumstances. It is often unsafe for women to walk long distances to fetch water and find secluded spaces for privacy when they have to go to the washroom or during menstruation. Lack of access to proper sanitation (such as soap) during these critical moments leads to illnesses occurring more frequently amongst the females of the Maasai community. Lack of soap and the illnesses associated with this directly causes girls to drop out of school or renders them unable to work (which can be detrimental to the families income). Employing these women in a safe work environment that also reduces their own health risks and that of their entire community, will be empowering for generations to come.
It is my belief and expectation that RISE will amplify my journey towards improving the WASH situation and well-being of Maasai women and children in the Northern Part of Tanzania. RISE will enable me to further develop my career as a public health researcher, allowing me to expand my capacity, reach and impact as a female entrepreneur.
Inspired by Hoyce?
Donate here to invest in her success as she works against all odds during a global pandemic to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and bring safe hygiene practices to communities most in need.