The Smart Hands Tanzania (SHTz) coalition was founded in April 2021 as a public health program and messaging campaign rooted in combating WASH-related diseases, including Covid-19. The initiative addressed a number of pressing public health and socioeconomic issues. From poor housing conditions in low-income Tanzanian communities to overburdened health facilities to the rainy season onset, to economic fragility compounded by the ongoing global pandemic — separately and in combination, each factor makes low-income households particularly susceptible to disease outbreaks.
Dalberg was brought in as a partner to engage other private sector competencies and capabilities with philanthropic funding and public health expertise to respond to the growing challenges. SHTz was comprised of collaborators including CEOrt, PwC, AMREF, UNICEF, Prime Fuels, and Chemi COtex — this diverse group of actors aligned by focusing on rapid scalability, sustainability, and providing maximum impact while reducing margins.
Dalberg and the Smart Hands Tanzania coalition set out to reach two goals. The first focused on improving access to hygiene and sanitation products among low-income households in Dar es Salaam. In its first round of distribution, SHTz reached more than 78 public health facilities in the Ilala, Kinondoni, and Temeke districts and successfully distributed hygiene and sanitation commodities to 94% of low-income households in the Kinondoni and Temeke districts.
The second goal was to mobilize resources for procurement and distribution of hand hygiene and sanitation products at scale. Driven by this ambition, the SHTz program raised more than $145,000 USD and onboarded nine organizations to help support the effort. In response to a successful first round of distribution, SHTz completed a second round alongside a mass behavioral change communications campaign.
In the future, the Smart Hands Tanzania model can be adapted for other public health challenges. This proven approach illustrates how private sector actors and philanthropic funders can blend their respective capabilities, expertise, and networks together as a first line of defense in the fight against WASH-related diseases.