The Development of an Innovative One Health Sanitation Science Fair to Cultivate Change Agent Capacity Among Pastoralist Youth in Rural Tanzania
Background: Innovative approaches to solving pressing global health challenges are urgently needed. Equipping youth, the next generation of change agents, with the complex skills required to take a leadership role in improving health at the local and global levels requires innovations in curricula and the pedagogical approaches that are currently used.
Objective: This article presents the development and evaluation of an innovative One Health sanitation science fair, as a learning opportunity developing global health promotion leadership skills and competencies, through an innovative science and social entrepreneurship approach among pastoralist youth in rural and remote Tanzania.
Design: The sanitation science fair is a key component in the Project SHINE (Sanitation and Hygiene INnovation in Education) intervention. The intervention was designed to engage and empower youth and communities in the development and evaluation of locally relevant and sustainable strategies to improve sanitation and hygiene, with the long-term objective of reducing the incidence of diarrheal disease. The sanitation science fair was developed by a transdisciplinary team of researchers in partnership with local teachers and is situated within a One Health paradigm, which focuses on the interrelationship between humans, livestock, and the environment.
Results: Teachers and the research team worked together to design a framework for the science fair projects. Sanitation science fair projects were grouped into three broad categories: water, sanitation, and hygiene, with each project specifying public health implications of the findings for the community. The evaluation team consisted of a broad cross-section of community members including traditional leaders, members of the Pastoralist Council, out-of-school youth, and traditional birth attendants. The evaluation team considered for scale-up projects that were identified as particularly relevant given the community context and which held potential for social entrepreneurship.
Conclusions: The sanitation science fair provided a unique opportunity to build bridges between schools and communities. This approach sparked interest and motivation to apply hands-on, curiosity-driven science to address pressing local health concerns related to water, sanitation, and hygiene. A science education and social entrepreneurship model of global health promotion engagement holds potential for engaging youth and communities in the development of locally relevant and sustainable strategies for improving health outcomes.
KeywordsScience education Innovation Frugal innovation Experiential learning Inquiry-based learning Health promotion Youth School-based intervention
The Project SHINE team would like to thank the headmasters, teachers, and students at the participating schools, as well as members of the local women’s group, other community stakeholders and the local research assistants for their support and engagement. The contributions of Dr. Susan Kutz, Dr. Frank van der Meer, Dr. Karin Orsel, Elias Charles Nyanza, Dr. Rita Henderson, and Ashley Schroeder to Project SHINE are substantial, and the authors would like to give thanks to these individuals. Thanks are also extended to the participants in the 2014 and 2015 University of Calgary Global Health Field School, held at Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania, for their contributions to the project. Finally, we would like to thank the members of the Prakash Lab at the Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, in particular, Dr. Manu Prakash and Dr. Jim Cybulski and Elizabeth Marshman, for their support and participation in the project, and for making Foldscope accessible to the participants in Project SHINE.
This Project was supported by Grand Challenges Canada. Grand Challenges Canada is funded by the Government of Canada and is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact in global health. The project was also supported by Global Health and International Partnerships, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, and by the University International Grants Committee (UIGC), University of Calgary.
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