Monday, February 2, 2015

Barbara, a family planning champion

Barbara teaching family planning in her village
Nangobi Barbara has been a Village Health Team (VHT) member since she was 23 years old. She's a young woman but has a big mission, since she's also the family planning focal person for the VHT members in her village. 

As a family planning focal person, Barbara takes on the main responsibilities for family planning within the Village Health Team in her village. That means she acts as a liaison between her community, the health center, and Uganda Village Project (UVP) to inform the village about incoming education sessions and outreaches. UVP trained Barbara on basic family planning knowledge and mobilization skills, and now she's in charge of passing along information and mobilizing women to attend outreaches. Besides the skills she learned from UVP, Barbara is naturally a very good communicator and she's creative. Most women that come for the outreaches in Kazigo village say they are there because of Barbara. UVP uses volunteers like her to rally their own communities. It's much more effective for a neighbor to inform someone about an event, and so we rely on the VHT members to do most of our mobilizing.

Barbara says that she was "very excited" when she got elected as a focal person and she's very happy with her job of mobilizing women to attend education sessions. She also reports that most women had expressed interest in family planning but could neither afford to go to a private clinic nor walk the three-hour distance to the nearest government health center for services.

UVP feels privileged to work with such an efficient, reliable, and hardworking person. Barbara has been able to mobilize up to 90 clients to attend our outreaches each time we conduct them (a great turnout!) and also pass along basic information to her community members about family planning services. This is a crucial skill, as we don't have time to meet with women individually outside of the quarterly outreaches and when there are 90 attendees it's helpful to have someone else collaborate to offer a personal touch. Now 26 years old, Barbara is a great leader in her community and we're excited to see the impact she continues to have in her village.

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