Project HOPE has a long history in Africa – beginning in the mid-1960s with a visit of the SS HOPE to Guinea. Currently, our programs in Africa focus on the continuing AIDS pandemic and its devastating impact on families, Tuberculosis control, humanitarian assistance and the growing need for chronic disease education and prevention. Our blog chronicles some of the day to day triumphs and challenges associated with our health education programs and the people we serve.

Helping the Elderly Care for the Young

Posted By: Stefan Lawson on April 20, 2010

Labels: Mozambique , Volunteers

Project HOPE in Mozambique not only wants to implement excellent programs, it also wants to help others do the same. We believe that in the longer term, it is better that Mozambicans learn the necessary skills to help themselves, rather than them relying on a foreign NGO for help.

As part of our OVC program, Project HOPE gave out grants to local community-based organisations who had a desire to help vulnerable children in the area. One such group was called APOSEMO. They are an association of retired persons, and they approached Project HOPE in Chokwe, Gaza Province with an idea to raise and sell chickens.

Project HOPE helped them put a business plan together, and it was decided that the profits of the first 5 cycles would go directly to helping vulnerable children in the area. An Avery was built and young chicks purchased. They are fed and vaccinated and about 4-6 weeks later they are sold.

APOSEMO now has a viable long-term income generating project going thanks to the help of Project HOPE, not only helping to employ some elderly folk from Chokwe, but also providing necessary income for vulnerable children in the town too.

A Day in the Life of a Community Volunteer in Malawi

Posted By: Stefan Lawson on March 18, 2010

Labels: Malawi , Infectious Disease, Volunteers

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.

Distribution of Mosquito Nets and Certeza to Children in Mozambique

Posted By: Stefan Lawson on March 11, 2010

Labels: Mozambique , Humanitarian Aid, Infectious Disease, Partners, Women’s and Children’s Health

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

With a Little HOPE, VSL Group Thrives

Posted By: Stefan Lawson on March 4, 2010

Labels: Mozambique , Partners, Volunteers

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 “Esperança” 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

New Village Savings and Loans Program for Mozambique

Posted By: Stefan Lawson on February 26, 2010

Labels: Mozambique , Health Care Education, Infectious Disease, Women’s and Children’s Health

Gaza Province, Mozambique

In January, I was able to travel to Xai Xai which is the Provincial capital of Gaza Province in Mozambique to our office there and train some of our staff on Village Savings and Loans (VSL)methodology. Project HOPE has been working in four districts there– Xai Xai, Chibuto, Chokwe and Guija through our USAID funded Orphans and Vulnerable Children(OVC) program where we have formed groups of OVC caregivers and given out loans (microcredit) to help them set up small businesses, expand existing ones etc. We combine these loan programs with health education.

What we are doing now, is using a different type of economic strengthening approach called savings and loans mobilisation, where groups of OVC caregivers are formed and they save their own money, which becomes a “loan fund” from which members of the group can apply for a small loan repayable back with interest to the group. This is also combined with comprehensive health education, covering topics such as HIV prevention, care and treatment, TB, Malaria, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, legal rights of a child etc. Groups meet on a weekly basis and essentially support and encourage each other.

These two types of economic strengthening activities will then be compared to see which is more sustainable and effective in the longer-term.

We trained 11 promoters throughout the week on VSL methodology, how to teach health education and the importance of monitoring and evaluation, specifically how to conduct the crucial surveys that we do to measure the success of our project. We also included training on the history and work of Project HOPE around the world.

For me it was a good opportunity to get to know the staff better, try to understand some of the issues that they face in working in these difficult environments, and then try together to help problem solve. This was the first time that I have taught in Portuguese for about four years so each night I was exhausted, but the group told me I was understandable so that was good!

Xai Xai is also known for its beautiful beach, so after each day’s lessons we were all able to relax and enjoy each other’s company on the beach or watching the “Mambas” – Mozambique’s national soccer team play in the African Cup of Nations that was taking place then!

I am confident that over the next 6 months as this project gets up and running it will make a substantial difference in the people’s lives in the districts where we work. Check back to hear about how its going and to read some interviews from the participants.

Thanks for Reading

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