jueves, 3 de enero de 2013

Health Promoter Graduation 2012

Photo of the graduation event

After eight months of receiving preventive health training, 41 women from San Pedro II and 65 women from San Pablo I and San Pablo II received diplomas to become “Health Promoters”.  This means they will be responsible for training at least five other families in their community what they have learned.  Lessons learned include topics of personal hygiene, purification of water, transmission/prevention of diarrhea, family planning, respiratory infections, and importance of vaccines to name a few.  As described in my last blog, each one of these promoters will also receive an infrastructure project (floor, improved wood burning stove, or a latrine) in order to improve their sanitary conditions. They will be trained on the importance, use, and maintenance of these projects.

The graduation day was a very rewarding day for those in attendance. We did a pot luck style so each community was responsible for bringing food, drinks, or cake to share. After an hour or two of this lunch we moved on to the actual graduation.  First, our counterpart opened to speak about the importance of being health promoters in their communities. Then, a representative from the Municipality spoke in K’iche so I’m not exactly sure what he said but we were fortunate to have someone from the Muni speak to give the graduation more credential. Then, I spoke about my experience with San Pedro II, how proud I am of them and certain memories I have from the workshops, home visits, and activities with the women. Jacob then gave his speech about his experience in his aldeas. We then presented the eight presidents with flowers and talked about their impact on the success of the group.  After this we handed out diplomas to each of the promoters (106 in total). I believe our counterpart spoke again to close out the graduation. We concluded the day with donated chocolate ice cream from Sarita.

Health Promoters from San Pedro II
 receiving their diplomas

A week prior to the graduation the president and I gave oral exams to each participant regarding the information they have been taught over and over again. Of the 41 health promoters, 18 passed the exam with a 75% or above. I noticed those who speak Spanish generally passed whereas though who do not understand Spanish tended to fail. It surprised me because I had a Spanish-K’iche translator at every workshop.  The pattern seems to be that those who have gone to school and have the ability to learn and speak Spanish have the tendency to capture information more easily; whereas those who only speak the Mayan language probably did not go to elementary school and therefore have yet to understand HOW to learn and how to retain information. Also, those who speak Spanish heard each workshop twice (first in Spanish, then in K’iche). Therefore, hearing each workshop twice as well as sitting in on the “Review” days where the information was again given in both languages must have made it easier for those bi-lingual speakers to learn.  Of the 18 promoters who passed, 100% speak Spanish.

All 41 of my promoters received a diploma for “Participation of the Healthy Homes course”. Those 18 who passed received another diploma for being an “Official Health Promoter” as well as a carnét or Identification Card from the “Area de Salud” (Health Area in the capital of our department) with their photo, cedula number, title, and signatures from the Health Center. After the graduation several women approached me asking if we could have another review session and another attempt at the exam in order to become “Official Health Promoters”. I loved this part of the day because it showed me that although the women may not have the ability to learn easily, they’re still eager to learn it and become leaders in their community. Therefore, in January we will have another review session and exam session in order to give the women another opportunity.

Diploma for participation, Dipoma for becoming
an official health promoter, and the Carnét from the
Area de Salud de Quiché

Overall, it was an excellent way to show the health promoters the importance their leadership will have on their communities.  By having such an elaborate graduation and finalization to their workshops, I hope it hit home that they can accomplish their goals regarding improving the health of their citizens. We felt that if we just finished the workshops without much of a celebration it would be like any organization that comes in and teaches for a little bit but then leaves them. Jacob and I wanted to be sure to finish it off correctly to give them the confidence they need to keep up with what they have learned and hopefully continue practicing it as well.

The health promoter trainings have been a great experience and our goal is that it has become sustainable enough to continue once our service is complete. 

Our awesome Marimba band! Ages 10-13..and
they rocked :-)

..And thank you to Pollo Campero for donating
 25 litros of Pepsi and over 100 vasos!

2 comentarios:

  1. Dear PCV,
    My name is Britta Hansen and I work for a USAID horticulture program at the University of California Davis. http://hortcrsp.ucdavis.edu/ I am also an RPCV Bolivia and Liberia, I found your lovely blog and that is why I am contacting you. My organization HortCRSP is in the process of searching for small organizations who are working to improve fruit and vegetable production in Liberia. Our program then funds time and travel for a graduate student in agronomy or horticulture to work with the organization over the course of a year to solve a specific issues they are having in production, marketing, nutrition etc. I am attaching some additional information as well as a link to our website. Basically I know that PCVs are often the best source of information on the ground and I would love it if you would be able to distribute some of this information to an organization that you might know of or work with. We always get a strong response from organizations in East Africa but being so connected to Liberia I know exactly some of the struggles people have in growing fruits and vegetables for sale and consumption. I would be happy to answer any questions that you have via email, skype or phone.

    Engaging U.S. graduate students in international development
    The Trellis Fund provides small-scale, in-country development organizations access to U.S. graduate student expertise, providing benefit to both the student and the in-country institutions. With a focus on impact and expansion of locally proven ideas, the Trellis Fund matches the organizations with students and provides modest funds to support the organization’s farmer outreach program.
    Proposals and applications
    For organizations: Organizations in 18 developing countries are invited to identify a horticultural problem facing local farmers and the type of expertise they seek in a U.S. graduate student. The organization will submit a project proposal with their intended objectives, activities, gender program and a $2,000 budget by March 4, 2013 for consideration. Organizations that have not already been funded by Trellis will receive priority.

  2. Hey Britta! Thanks for the message! I'd love to hear more about this. What's your email? We have a Food Security and Agriculture program that you may be able to work with. These volunteers will be here for about nine more months and they know much more about groups that work in agriculture than I do! I can try to hook you guys up!