Being Australian, I thought us Aussies were pretty adept at shortening phrases and profanity. It seems we have nothing on the Zambian international development sector. In my first week of work, I have been to so many meetings and met so many people in the hope of finding out a bit more about what on earth I was doing here. This is what I learnt.
For the next year, I will be a DTSO with UNICEF. I will be working in WASH, but more specifically, supporting MLGH, MOCTA, MOE, MCDMCH, DEBS and partner NGOs, such as PAF, WV and CIDRZ, to motivate SAGs, CCs, EHTs, FPPs and CPs, and possibly CHWs, NHCs, RHCs, TBAs, CBOs, and FBOs in implementing CLTS / SLTS for ODF / WISE communities. Strategies will include T4D, SBCC, PSAs and SM to improve HWWS, as well as supporting D-WASHE to do M&E and V&C for improved IMS. The program is proudly funded by DFID.
If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry, because fortunately there is one word in this new role that does make sense. Advanced warning and apologies to any sensitive readers, but the country’s ambitious (and inspiring!) target to get 3 million new sanitation users in 3 years means that the word “shit” is being dropped casually, liberally, and deliberately in all communication. Indeed, guidelines state that the crude local word should always be used to cut through the deadly silence around open defecation. This means that official documents are littered with shit – from triggering strategies entitled “Food and Shit”, reports being called “Tales of Shit”, and expected results being to “have everyone agree that they eat their own shit, and want to stop eating each other’s shit”. It makes for a very enlightening orientation week.
With all this new terminology in mind, what have I actually learned during my first week at work? Shitloads.
*Zambian international development takes acronyms to a whole new level.