The COVID pivot: WaSH

This year, the WaSH Project is focusing on two project streams: the Last 100m project (L100M) and the school WaSH project (SWaSH). L100M is a new project stream for this year in collaboration with researchers from Lancaster University. This project aims to investigate the effect of faecal contamination on waterborne diseases and explore hard (technical) and soft (community-based) inventions to reduce risk of water contamination. The project will be based in the Vingunguti district, building upon the relationships and partnerships developed by previous WaSH teams. The aim for this summer is to produce a research proposal that future teams can use as a foundation for the implementation phase next summer.

This year, SWaSH is focusing on three areas, namely constructing handwashing facilities (which may extend to solid waste disposal facilities), organising handwashing workshops and providing soap to 4 primary schools in the Vingunguti district.

Current work is underway to conduct a needs assessment of the 4 schools, which would start this coming Monday. We have also reached out to SAWA Tanzania to partner with us for this project. To ensure the project remains sustainable and operations and maintenance is conducted effectively, we plan to set up SWaSH Clubs at the 4 schools. We are also collaborating with the Entrepreneurship and Health Projects to coordinate the soap provision/soap-making initiative.

By Sophie Parsons WaSH Project Director 2019/20

Sophie is a 4th year engineering student at Jesus College.

The COVID pivot: COVID and the health project


In the weeks following the COVID-19 outbreak, a group of CDI volunteers, led by Health Project Director Gerard Kuenning, refocused efforts from their project teams toward work on helping address the pandemic outbreak in Tanzania. 

Two primary focuses were introduced for this endeavor. First, the group focused on helping disseminate public health information through partner organizations within Tanzania, including ShuleDirect, JitambueTV, and private blogs. Packets of information addressing preventative measures for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, sanitation, and mental health were created and distributed to these partner groups, who published the materials on their websites.

Second, work was done in attempting to secure care package funding, with these packages to be distributed to at-risk individuals in Dar es Salaam most affected by quarantining and restrictions put in place in response to the pandemic. 

Following the declaration by President John Magufuli on June 8th that Tanzania was ‘COVID free’, published information on COVID-19 by our partner organizations was taken down, in accordance with government regulation. Not wishing to endanger our partner groups, work on these projects was halted.


Gerard Kuenning and Ramsha Hiram have redirected the Health Project’s work towards long term project ideation. They describe the projects and partnerships they are preparing for future Health Project teams to implement. 

The political constraints surrounding implementation of COVID-19 public health work in Tanzania necessitated a return to the Health Project team’s original project plans, but with important changes. Given the imperative to ideate, partner, and implement remotely without the flexibility of seeing our own projects through on-ground, we have geared our fundraising efforts towards supporting organisations making social development efforts in line with the Health Project’s objectives by connecting them to grant funding that they might otherwise be unable to access, while simultaneously fundraising for next year’s initiatives. 

We are ideating on project plans for sexual and reproductive health, sexual harassment, and mental health to be implemented in the long-term in collaboration with KITE, while partnering with local organizations to disseminate information online across these subjects with a view to raising awareness through targeted, needs-based campaigns which are grounded in the specificities of local context. 

Our design sprint phase, which concluded in the first week of August, has enabled us to chalk out a strategy to pursue over the remaining six-weeks of our project period building upon these guidelines in terms of our objectives and our approach towards achieving them. At the same time, the Health team will be supporting CDI in the changes to its organisational structure and recruitment processes that it seeks to introduce by the end of the 2019-2020 term.

By Ramsha Hisham and Gerard KuenningHealth Directors

The COVID pivot: Entrepreneurship

New partnerships and pilot projects having been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Entrepreneurship Project Directors Izzy Green and Hannah Rogasch have worked brilliantly on laying strong foundations for the future success of the Entrepreneurship Project. In this blog Izzy tells us about the adaptations they have made.

Although it has been difficult to adjust to the loss of the summer trip, the Entrepreneurship Project has been able to continue working to set up future Entrepreneurship teams for the greatest success possible. Our summer work will now comprise two streams: preparatory work for the project we were planning to implement this summer to be in the best place possible for handover to next year’s team, and a new partnership which we hope will have some positive impact upon the COVID-19 situation in Tanzania without openly stating disagreement with the official government line.

Our original pilot project, Tanzania CAN (Consult, Act, Network), was designed to match business students from both Dar Es Salaam and Cambridge with small enterprises (1-3 employees) in Dar, to offer consultation and support on scaling up their businesses. After the consultation period, the entrepreneurs would graduate into a community of fellow local entrepreneurs who would meet in a roundtable format once a quarter to network and discuss barriers and opportunities for growth. Our preparatory work includes designing a baseline survey, implementing Monitoring and Evaluation frameworks, designing a recruitment campaign and training for volunteer entrepreneur consultants, and fundraising.

Our new partnership project is working with Mydia-TZ, to support and facilitate soap-making microfinance livelihood projects. We are hoping to bring together a three-way partnership with KITE, to run parallel soap-making projects. Mydia-TZ work in the North West of the country in the Kigoma region, so this entails scaling the project up to run in two locations. The project trains and funds young mothers (under 25), so fits with CDI Entrepreneurship’s long term aim of reducing youth unemployment through capacity-building, while pivoting towards supporting the local production of an essential good which has become increasingly necessary with the pandemic. Our role in the partnership is still emerging, but our main goal will likely be supporting fundraising, Monitoring and Evaluation, and budgeting as well as facilitating the Mydia-KITE relationship.

By Isabelle Green Entrepreneurship Director 2019/20

Izzy is a Postgraduate student at Gonville and Caius college.

The COVID pivot: Education

In this post, Education Project Director Nikita Jha tells us about the adaptations she and the Education Project volunteer team have made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDI Education Project for 2020 was originally centred around three projects, two new ideas and a third building on a project from 2019–KomputHER. However the project has now been pivoted to take a more feasible, relevant and sustainable approach by shifting operations online. In doing that, it’ll be centred on two areas.

First, it will maintain the focus on KomputHER but will be geared towards digitising the content in the form of an app. The aim will be to lay the logistical foundations for this project by ideating on implementation, developing the content, building partnerships and securing the funding that will ease operations for future teams.

The second project strand is an awareness building campaign to increase parental engagement in children’s education, proposed in light of prolonged school closures during the spread of COVID-19. The primary medium for this campaign will be radio, which has a wide and diverse audience in Tanzania. The target for this project strand will be to conduct preliminary research on the current level of parental engagement with children’s education, and use the research results to design the campaign content.

Nikita and her team of volunteers have continued to work remotely with diligent application throughout the summer, and have laid an excellent foundation for the incoming Education Project co-directors and volunteers.

By Nikita Jha Education Project Director 2019/20

Nikita is a Postgraduate student at Newnham College.