When Stomping Out Malaria in Africa was announced on World Malaria Day 2011, Program Director and Peace Corps Senegal Country Director Chris Hedrick wanted to “Shriverize” the program’s launch to get as many volunteers and staff thoroughly trained and coordinating malaria programs at their posts as quickly as possible. (“Shriverize” is a term popular in the Peace Corps, thanks to the agency’s first director, Sargent Shriver, and the way he got the program up and running in less than two years.)
Stomp held its first two-week Boot Camp training in June of 2011 for volunteers and staff from seven sub-Saharan Africa countries. As of October 2013, eight Boot Camps have been held in Thies, Senegal, bringing together over 200 volunteers and staff from 23 African countries.
Boot Camp trainings cultivate a select team of Peace Corps Volunteers Leaders, Response Volunteers, and Staff, as the “Malaria Team:” a core group of dedicated people who will lead their posts’ malaria efforts and facilitate projects for their volunteers in the field. Malaria Team members liaise with initiative partners, facilitating communications, and building an international network of malaria prevention professionals to share best practices and ideas from the field. Malaria Team members are trained to use electronic information sharing tools such as Google Documents and Facebook, so that they can continue to exchange ideas and malaria prevention tools amongst themselves, volunteers and staff at their posts, and initiative partners around the globe.
Training sessions during boot camp are deep and diverse, with sessions via Skype and from local guests on topics such as malaria science, behavior change communications, HIV/AIDs and malaria co-infection, bed net distributions, international malaria policy and control, and advocacy. Sessions are led by a number of experts in the malaria field from prominent universities, organizations and the U.S. government. Field visits include exploration of three levels of Senegal’s health system and a trip to the village of Thieneba Seck, where the country’s most successful community-led malaria prevention program is being led.
Stomping Out Malaria in Africa’s next Boot Camp training is January 28-February 8, 2014 in Thies, Senegal. For further information on Boot Camp, explore our Participant’s Corner, Presenter Bios, and Photo Gallery pages, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.