Act 1 Scene 3

Promoting New Connections


While we all started out at the Zwelitsha project site, our team eventually situated itself in the storage bungalow next to the WaSH Facility. The other teams spent the day up in Zwelitsha while we had our meeting under the shade of the bungalow.
Upon returning to the lodge, we participated in a WaSH Workshop in the living room.


As the end of the week approached, our team was extremely excited to meet with Health Promoters, an organisation focused on promoting and providing health education for the prevention of diseases in all communities. We had been invited by Sizwe to join to the meeting and had all done our research! It turned out to be a great day full of information, laughs, and goal setting!

Cast of Characters


Gaining New Insight into the HIV/AIDS support group

The Energy Team, consisting of Alex, Jinghan, Rachel, and Tatiana, joins our teams in Langrug for the day, hoping to investigate the energy needs of the community. We are excited to have more peers join us, especially because this is an important day for our group. There is a 10 o’clock meeting with Health Promoters, a national organisation that focuses on training health educators about basic sanitation and hygiene issues, with which they can then spread knowledge to their communities. Sizwe invited us to attend the meeting and participate in conversation. After getting to Langrug, the teams disperse and we assist with setting up the chairs and benches in the storage bungalow for the meeting, anticipating the arrival of Health Promoters.

First Health Promoters Meeting

First Health Promoters Meeting

In the meantime, we meet and talk with a woman, Siyanda, we have not previously met. She is there for the Health Promoters meeting too. We sit down with her and ask her to tell us about her story. She explains that she started working in a clinic and was trained in a variety of health skills. It was in this work, and the portfolio provided by the clinic to showcase her skills, that she developed the idea to organise an HIV/AIDS support group in the Langrug community. In 2011, Siyanda explains, she went door to door to every shack to take enumerations, which are sort of like a census. She asked how many adults lived in each shack, as well as how many children. Further questions included: Do the adults work? How do they bring in money? Do the children go to school? If not, why? Who in the household has diarrhea, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, other diseases, etc.? Siyanda tells us that this process took her 6-8 months and that the data show the need for an HIV/AIDS support group.
The group was organised in 2012 and was considerably successful for the first few months. Unfortunately, Siyanda had to leave the area to go stay with family due to marital problems. When she came back, she hoped to join the Savings Group in the community but was rejected. She mentions further that others considered her a “laughing stock” due to her marital problems. She appears very upset and passionate about what happened and the judgment and ridicule she received. Siyanda says there is more to the story, specifically why people judged and ridiculed her, but she does not want to tell us until she is less upset. We praise her for her courage and initiative and thank her for telling us her story.

Health Promoters Meeting

The Health Promoters arrive about a half hour late due to traffic and after introductions we give them an overview of our project goals and mission in Langrug. They appear enthusiastic and begin describing their organisation’s work. We learn that Health Promoters aim for prevention through education before treatment in townships of South Africa. They offer workshops “at a very easy to understand, grassroots level” ( In other words, they create easily understood and easily replicated modules for teaching about health, sanitation, and well-being in a variety of communities.
George tells us he feels that these communities need preventative care. Once people are sick, it can be almost too late. He feels that people can be empowered with health education. A major concern is the reliability of the community members who are trained. George and Harold tell us that money and time go into their training and it is imperative that the community members are enthusiastic and aim to teach others. Previously, George explains, Health Promoters had worked with a woman in Langrug who was trained but felt uncomfortable sharing her knowledge and skills. Because the message was not being spread, the project was unsuccessful. This is a great source of frustration for George and Harold. We discuss the overall importance of community members gaining confidence and teaching skills, in addition to the health skills they receive from the programmes. Furthermore, we find out that Health Promoters had no idea about CORC or the work they are doing in informal settlements when they first worked in Langrug. Harold is extremely excited to be working with a successful organisation after learning briefly about their goals and projects.
We continue to learn about Health Promoters work and processes, including training certification, a topic we have discussed together as a project group. George says in the meeting that there are two forms of certification: participation and completion. Those who participate in workshops but cannot attend all receive a certificate of participation. Those who complete the entire training receive the certificate of completion. These certificates assist community members in marketing their new skills and securing better jobs.
Trainees also meet and share their challenges with each other and try to plan solutions. They get course refreshers on a regular basis and are educated in public speaking skills. Sizwe asks about how they deal with language barriers. George says they have trainers who are multilingual in Xhosa, English, and Afrikaans. Because their programmes aim to help anyone, most of the main medical concepts are translated into Xhosa, English, or Afrikaans.
One module, usually focused on one specific topic, aims for a 90 minute training session. The first hour is typically for teaching and training and the last 30 minutes are more for feedback. Training overall can vary from one month to three months. Since both groups are excited to start working together, we ask how many community members they are willing to train and they say “as many as possible.” The ladies sitting in on the meeting are very excited, though they still have to keep in mind the building schedule of the Zwelitsha facility. We discuss the possibility of community members going to Health Promoters office in Khaymandi on Tuesday to observe a workshop, but we do not know the logistics of transportation. We suggest that the WaSH van could possibly bring members, if approved by Scott and Steve.
As a final note, the team members from Health Promoters tell us their programmes produce great health educators that further help their communities and create preventative solutions. They are clearly very confident in their programmes, and are thrilled to start working with the community of Langrug!


WaSH Workshop Back at the Lodge

Back at the Lodge, Scott, Steve, Sizwe, Adi, and Chuma meet with the WaSH teams. We discuss the overall idea of WaSH and how it can be structured. Infrastructure (the actual facilities and TEL) needs maintenance (mechanical skills and plumbing skills) which leads to caretaking (cleaning and security). Further down the stream is services (health, WaSH, well-being, ECD, social, disease) and supporting caretakers, Savings Group, and community representation. Environmental sustainability and policy must also be considered. We want the opportunity and ability to influence local and national policy.
All of us spend a lot of time talking about communal vs. individual gain in the context of the Savings Group as well as how to mitigate strained internal relations amongst community members.

Meeting about WaSH-UP


Meeting Health Promoters and hearing more about their organisation was really inspiring to us. It is reassuring to know that there are more groups with similar values and goals as CORC and WPI, specifically our team. Women in the Savings Group attending the meeting were also enthusiastic about partnering with Health Promoters, and it was encouraging to see their excitement for the opportunity to be trained in health and sanitation issues. We are excited to begin working with such a great organisation that will really help us expand the services and knowledge offered at the WaSH facility!
To learn more about Health Promoters and their work, visit:

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