- Ruth-Sulla King'ori
Neema's Story of Change
Neema William Masegheng’e is a 29-year-old local mason, who lives at Ngoloko ward, Shinyanga. She is a wife, a mother of one and a local mason who has participated in on-site sanitation (OSS) training together with other masons facilitated by SNV WASH programme.
Before attending the training, Neema felt she did not have sufficient knowledge of the toilet construction service she was providing, even though she has been in the construction industry for years. As a result, she did not have the confidence to approach new clients who needed the service.
Neema is one of the fortunate local masons to attend the OSS training. This training, which falls under component 2 of the programme, aims to capacitate local masons with knowledge and skills on how to construct OSS facilities that are environmentally friendly, not susceptible to flooding and easier and safer to empty. Also, the trainees received technical and customer catalogues to improve their business in terms of marketing and pricing.
“Before the training, I did not know there are several types of toilets in the market. I used to construct one based on my knowledge, but now I can construct toilets confidently knowing which type and why I am constructing. Also, I can advise clients to construct better toilets based on the soil type and environment. Through the catalogues, I am able to price my services correctly. Before, I didn’t know if I was overcharging or undercharging customers.” She said.
Neema credits the programme for her wide knowledge, confidence and skills in toilets that prior to the training she did not have. Since the training, Neema has received more requests for her services and some for consultation. She has also been receiving positive comments for her work, after the training people found her work more appealing. She stated before the training in 2020, she had only constructed 5 toilets. After the training, she has been able to expand her business. She has since constructed 15 toilets within the municipal and constructed 16 outside the municipal. Many of her clients have been through word-of-mouth hearing about her great work. She has also credited her supporting husband who has supported and encouraged her before and after the training and she can now contribute to her family’s livelihood.
Moreover, apart from the OSS training, Neema is one among the 21 local masons who have benefitted from the programmes Result Based Incentive (RBI) intervention. RBF is an incentive approach that rewards hard-working masons with incentives, in a form of tools, based on the number and type of toilets constructed or upgraded. From this intervention, Neema has received protective equipment such as safety boots and gloves as well as construction tools such as pass metallic, scraper, gravel and plastering trowel.
“Before the programme, I used to borrow equipment from other masons to do my work. But now, I can go straight to my clients because I have my own tools to do the work, I don’t have to start thinking who I should borrow from.” She said.
“The training helped me to build my capacity on different toilet designs. Example toilets for households, public space, healthcare facilities, schools and toilets for people with disabilities. Also, how to develop and write up a business plan and how to find business ventures in toilet construction.” She added.
The knowledge from the training and the tools from the RBI motivate Neema to perform her work with confidence now. Neema vows to continue to advocate in her community the importance of adopting modern toilets and leaving deficient ones.