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Please note: our former name of Thare Machi Education is used in articles written before 2020.

Rural DRC: Learning Hygiene with DVDs – and Practice

3rd April 2018

By Mugisho N. Theophile, Cofounder/Exec. Director, COFAPRI

COFAPRI first connected with Thare Machi Education in October 2014 has been working hand in hand with TME in a very satisfactory way since 2015.

At that time TME sent to COFAPRI a portable DVD player together with 12 DVDs to start off with.
The screen is just large enough to allow between 2 and 3 people to easily watch a video at a time. Watching coupled with practice materials enabled the audience to better understand the contents.

“The portable was good at that time, but its size was very small, yet we soon had many people who wanted to watch since this was a new thing for them. So, we could divide them in small teams of 3 or 5 maximum and watch. It was not easy, but we did all that we could like often giving them practice materials so that they can associate the words with the acts. Things went very well, and today we now organise screenings with more than 50 people to watch at the same time. The issue of a huge audience is still there, but at least they can learn.”
COFAPRI Executive Secretary, Ms. Bahati, who often conducts screening sessions when in the villages.

It was only a year later, that is in October 2015, that COFAPRI was then effectively using the DVDs in the villages and in some primary and secondary schools in the villages. We aim to reach all the schools and villages to make sure everyone has got a chance to learn from the DVDs.

Local people (women, men, boys and girls in villages, and pupils in schools, as well as their teachers and directors) highly appreciated the videos. Some children find the DVDs strange as they had never seen DVDs before, but they better appreciate the contents when coupled with practice materials.

“Ha ha ha ha let me laugh first because I am going to say something good and that all of us know and like. These glittering plates are like mirrors in circles, very small but what they include are incredible images. If you look at it, you see nothing but if you use it, ha ha ha ha that is when you see how magic it is. It speaks and it has men, women and children in it, there is also music and you think you are near them. What they do is helping us to understand that we can change. We just watch and later, we practice. We like the practice part because with it we get tools to use at home and here, and then we explain what we are doing. So, we learn twice: using the language in public and saying what we have seen in the plates there. Is this not good you friends? This is new to me and we need it a lot in our schools and why not in our families?”
Pupil from Bushuke Primary School in Kalango village, who has watched the DVDs on several occasions.

The aim of the DVDs is to educate the local population about ways to change their behaviours in a positive way in order to improve their hygienic conditions. For COFAPRI and TME, hygiene matters a lot. Watching an educational DVD on “Keeping Our Hands Clean” and doing practice and distributing equipment like small hand towels, small hand washing basins and pieces of soap for children to use at home has been very helpful to them. These DVDs have been empowering both the audience and their communities at large, and their lives are hugely changing.

“Nothing gives us more joy and as we see our attitudes and lives changing to satisfaction, we feel very much motivated to watch more and more whenever we have a programme. The only big challenge is the huge number of us who come. Practice materials to distribute to everyone are not enough, yet we need them. Such an exercise is very helpful to all of us because as we see and get the message, then we too need to do like them in the tool there. All of us here, the people, the children, the leaders and everyone like it and want it to be done in all the villages you have never reached.”
One of the women who had watched some of the DVDs in Mabingu.

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