I started with an NHC training workshop. Neighborhood Health Committees are group of volunteers elected by the community to lead and change and educate the community to better public and overall health. But if they are not trained and not able to educate, they are seated and doing nothing for the people.
That was how my community proposed a training week for all members. They called me and asked to set this up since I’m their volunteer in a big meeting where I planned out days to work schedules of the workshop with the secretaries of all zones and the budget for food and supplies with the treasurers.
The budget was 800Kwacha and easily manageable for food, posters, and supplies for all students. Except with my treasurers, we only spent 600.
But goodness, planning and inviting for only a workshop was a hassle. It was hard to widdle down money. It was hard to get people involved in planning to help them see the work and also their future possibilities of workshops they can manage without me.
Everyday had a schedule. Everyone had to attend all sessions to earn their certificate. I heard excuses but still I stuck to the rule. And they complied.
First, development and structure. Importance of community participatory analysis tools to see the most needed and most important help that is wanted. Then, basic to advanced project development and action planning that will help them focus their attentions and tasks and energy. Then courses through water and sanitation, malaria, maternal health and full day of in depth HIV/AIDS.
We even had a guest speaker who was a fellow community member who was born in Lunchu but grew up in Sweden who told us about her struggle with HIV and how with ARVs, her husband is not infected and her two older children are also not infected. It brought my members out from village misconceptions to a true face to face education about HIV.
We learned that day that AIDS is not a disease but a status of condition. That one can be infected but can also be born. That people can survive and live prosperous fulfilling lives with ARVs. My members loved that day the most when we reflected on the workshop because they learned to find answers and not hold onto just misconceptions.
They all graduated and were awarded certificates for a great participation, motivation and incredible effort. I did not do this project alone. And that was the greater accomplishment.
Next, came house to house surveying of mosquito net checks. I only went with one NHC zone around to survey house net usage and maintenance. They and I gave talks to those who did not hang and in a day I almost talked to thirty-six families.
This a bimonthly club that is set out to teach and train nutrition in the community. So far attendance is poor but my counterpart Violet is always there for support. I hope to boost his and help get better outreach but high hopes!
That’s it so far!