What am I doing here?

….it’s a fair question….and it occurs to me that I haven’t written about the projects that I’m working on since they were confirmed. This took several weeks and I have been hindered by lack of internet since then, hence radio silence. That aside here is a brief summary of what I’m doing here:

1 – SEXUAL REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RESEARCH – this project is assessing attitudes and behaviour in relation to Family Planning, Ante-Natal Care, Birth in the clinic, Birth at home, and Post-Natal Care. The method is a “two-pronged” approach – first I am speaking with the CHEWs (= “Community Health Extension Workers”) who are a cross between social workers and nurses, and live in the villages throughout the cluster. To do this, I am travelling round to visit all of them in their villages and talk through the questions that I have. Results to follow….and some very interesting attitudes are being revealed ! After that, I will run a series of focus groups with the community (with translators) to get their views about SRH. I will then work through the results and feedback key messages/gaps in knowledge to Millennium.

2 – MICROFINANCE FOR WOMEN – there is a group of women in Kobriso (which is one of the most remote villages in the cluster) who have been looking for a micro-finance partner so that they can build up their small businesses. Their activities include soap making/kenke making (it’s a kind of food)/running a small general store. My role has been to find a potential partner (done) and prepare the women for their assessment. This is rather like trying to match people for a blind date, and make sure both sides are clear about what’s expected. The assessment for the women is actually happening today (17 August!) so keep all fingers and toes crossed please !! If successful, this kind of group preparation and micro-finance partnering could be rolled out to other groups across the cluster.

3 – LEARNING CENTRES – Millennium have made a significant investment to build several Learning Centres across the cluster. These are buildings with space for community meetings and a small amount of computers (usually 6 – 8 in each LC). There are some key issues with the LCs which mean that they are often only used by schoolchildren whereas the goal is for them to be a centre for the whole community, with multiple uses. This project involves me visiting and assessing all the LCs, running community workshops to hear what is working/what is not and then feed back to Millennium about what needs to be done. So far I have assessed 4 with a couple more to go. FYI the photo below is with the community group we spoke with at the Bonsaaso Learning Centre last week. For anyone who doesn’t know what I look like, I am the blonde “Obroni” (= “white person”) who sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle !!

This is just a brief overview and I’ll keep you posted on progress for all of them. Until then “Mekwaaba” (which means I’m going but coming back!!!)