Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Community Volunteer in Malawi

Saidi Nakhumwa is 47 years old. He lives near Mulanje and serves as a volunteer at the Matipwiri Community Sputum Collection Point site where he carefully collects sputum samples from people who might have TB in surrounding villages and delivers the samples to a TB microscopy laboratory site for testing.

Without a car, or even a bike for transportation, it takes him all day to walk the samples to the nearest TB laboratory and return home. Rodrick Nalikungwi, Project HOPE 's TB Program Manager in Malawi asked Saidi to describe his work as a TB volunteer. Here are Saidi's words:

“I wake up at 5:00 a.m. when it’s my turn to man the Community Sputum Collection Point. It takes me 30 minutes to walk to the Collection Point so I leave home at 6:30 a.m. While at the Collection Point, I wait for other volunteers from 10 other villages to bring sputum samples. I record what I receive in the registers and label the samples. At 10:00 a.m. it is time to take the collected sputum bottles to Chonde Health Center. I walk with another community volunteer and we arrive there around 1:30 p.m.

I hand over all the sputum samples to the Health Surveillance Assistant microscopist at the health centre and sign for what I have given in. Then we start walking back home. Usually we buy sugar cane to suck as we walk back home.

I love serving the community but walking on an empty stomach especially during this lean period, makes me feel tired when I arrive home.”

Later, Rodrick said that Saidi borrowed a bicycle and tied his sputum sample transportation box to the bike. "This is what would help us very much, " Saidi said, while doing a demonstration ride.

Volunteers like Saidi are the cornerstone of Project HOPE’s TB management and treatment programs in Malawi. Can you help? DONATE NOW to help provide bicycle transportation for community volunteers in Malawi.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Distribution of Mosquito Nets and Certeza to Children in Mozambique

As part of Project HOPE's work with Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC), we established a relationship with Population Services International (PSI) – another leading international health NGO that works in the country. Through our relationship with PSI we were able to procure Mosquito nets and bottles of Certeza which purifies unclean water and distribute these to the OVC in our program. One of the leading causes of death in the country of young children is Malaria and waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea.

An example of this occurred last week when working through our network of partners, over 250 nets and bottles of Certeza were given out to children that live in Namuniho which is on the outskirts of Quelimane in Zambezia Province. The children attend a school set up to provide education to 5-15 year olds that have fallen through cracks in the education system and are playing catch up with their more advantaged peers.

Present at the handover ceremony was a representative from the Provincial Ministry of Health who spoke about the importance on using the nets and how to use Certeza.

Thanks to PSI and generous donors like you, these children are now able to drink safe water, and sleep under a net that will help protect them from getting malaria.

Thanks for Reading

Thursday, March 4, 2010

With a Little HOPE, VSL Group Thrives

In Zambezia Province of Mozambique, Project HOPE has been running the savings and loans mobilisation program for quite a while. Over the life of the project we have had over 300 groups that have been formed and trained in the methodology.

One of these groups is called “Esperan├ža” which means “Hope” in Portuguese. This group is based on the outskirts of Mocuba and they have been with Project HOPE since almost the beginning of the project, but now function very independently. To date they are continuing to save money on a regular basis and give out loans to members of the group. As a result of working with us, they decided to form an “association” which is a legally registered body of people with the government that has a constitution and board. By doing this they are better able to access help from other NGOs and even government funds.

Each of the members of the group owns at least 1 hectare of land on which they produce corn, peanuts and other vegetables. The group’s idea was to try to access markets in Mocuba and sell surplus product there, thus generating income. One of the biggest challenges to this is knowing what to do with the food once it is harvested, and so the group had the idea of together building a storehouse where produce could be stored in a safe location until either they could arrange transport to get the produce to town, or even better, have a buyer come and pick it up from them.

To help them in time for this current harvest season, Project HOPE, through its generous donors was able to supplement what the group had already saved up and donated $800.00 to complete the construction of this storehouse.

Thanks for Reading