Wednesday, July 31, 2013

[Kasambiika 1] Tippy-tap problem-solving, broken boreholes, and soccer

Hello Dear Readers! Things are going well in Kasambiika 1. In this post I will cover some of the challenges and successes that we have encountered in our programming.

A Kasambika sunrise

We have conducted four sensitizations so far: nutrition, family planning, malaria, and male family planning. Male family planning was not attended well. And by not attended well, we mean no one showed up.

Nathan and Tina despondent at the turn-out to the male family planning sensitization.

It seemed like everything needed for a successful and productive sensitization was there. There was demonstrated interest: a focus group of villagers had requested the event for men to learn about the side effects and capabilities of family planning for their partners. There was timely mobilization: we held a soccer match the night before and talked to young men on our way to the venue. The venue was centrally located: we were in a compound close to the school, where the soccer match was.

Yet no one showed up. On our walk back to our home a man suggested that the caprices of village life had prevented people from coming, that tending fields took priority over our meeting. Yet we got the sense from questioning our VHTs and talking to other community members that there was a lack of interest in our programming and message. Disheartening, right?

We bounced back with a successful malaria sensitization.

Raphael explaining the proper way to hang a mosquito net.

Over 30 people showed up to the sensitization, and we sold all the mosquito nets we planned to sell. We talked about the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of malaria. We found from baseline surveys that people often misdiagnose other illnesses as malaria, and that they expect malaria treatment for those illnesses. We also emphasized that pregnant women and very small children are the people most susceptible to malaria (because they have weaker or undeveloped immune systems). We made sure that people know the proper way to hang a net, how often to wash them, and for how long they last.

Recording the sale of nets

And after the sensitization, we had some time to hang out with some of the stragglers.

A perfect high five
We plan on doing another family planning information session targeting the entire community, and we’ll report back on the success of that pursuit.

Another challenge that we faced was implementing our school tippy tap project (if you forgot what a tippy tap was, check our previous blog post). We, the Kasambiika 1 and 2 intern teams, were tasked with using a grant from the Baltimore Rotary Club to fund the construction of six tippy taps at the Kasambika Primary School. We first met with the children and worked with them and the school administrators to build tippy taps. We taught the younger kids the song “Naaba Mungalo” (Wash Your Hands, sung in Lusoga to Frere Jacques) which is repeatedly sung by all village children everywhere. But soon the project ran into trouble. The soap was stolen within days, and the tippy taps were often empty, even though a special prefect had been appointed to re-fill them each day.

We identified the problems and started working on solutions, which is part of our goal while implementing this pilot project. Getting water to repeatedly refill the tippy taps was tedious and too difficult for one student. Bigger jerry cans for the tippy taps would help ease the stress of the tippy tap prefect and his new team’s job. Getting water from the borehole throughout the day is tiring and interrupts schooling. Filling two 100 liter water drums early in the morning for filling the tippy taps was more manageable. Soap was not sustainable. Readily-available and effective ash could be used instead. And the 3 liter jerry cans that we are replacing with the 5 liter jerry cans would be apt holders for the soap substitute. 

We bought the drums and 5 liter jerry cans, and we are almost ready for construction. One significant obstacle remains. Recently the school borehole went out of commission. Community leaders have removed the handle until fixes can be made, which will not happen until Kasambika can foot the bill. We are pursuing a resolution to this situation.

A dry, deserted, broken borehole. Not the happiest sight.
 The Soccer Game

We held a soccer game to distribute condoms to young men. Many young men (we found this meant ages 18-30ish, or at least old enough to play in the football match) showed up. During half-time we demonstrated proper condom use using a matooke (unripe plantain), and talked to the guys about avoiding HIV, STI, and unwanted pregnancies. After the game they took the 250 plus condoms we brought with us.

Pre-game hype.
Hanging out by the goal post.
Raphael and I played too. The young men of Kasambika 1 are very good “footballers.” 
Meanwhile, Tina, Josie, Stephanie and Nichole answered questions some of the young women had about family planning.

They also spent time with some of the other onlookers.
We look to conclude our internship by hosting another sensitization on family planning, one on obstetric fistula, one on safe water and hygiene, and a final community event. We hope to leave the school tippy tap project in the best condition possible.

Best wishes until next time!

1 comment:

Leslie Stroud-Romero said...

Thanks for persevering! Sounds like good things are happening, despite the setbacks.