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Author: Carol Sevin
Tags: Community Change Agents , Local Hero , Tanzania , weekly awesome
Who they are: volunteers in rural communities who have at least a primary school education
What they do: inform the communities in their wards about the consequences, transmission, symptoms, treatment and prevention of malaria and how to use and care for long lasting insecticide treated nets.
How many people they cover: 4-11 villages (population of 6,000 – 17,000)
How they’re selected: appointed by the Ward Development Committee
Who they work with: everyone – grandparents, mothers, fathers, children, youth, community leaders, teachers, health clinic staff, etc.
Where they work: at public gatherings, in primary schools, at group meetings, and house-to-house visits.
What type of training they receive: The initial training in 2008 was a week long with Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs (JHU-CCP), Population Services International (PSI) and external facilitators. The training included sessions on how to organize an event, public speaking and facilitation skills, and technical sessions about malaria. Since then, there have been annual 3-day refresher courses and an annual meeting for sharing best practices.
- In 2011, CCAs received an additional training in leading discussions after the PataPata programs. PataPatais a children’s radio show program produced by JHU-CCP aimed at teaching children about the transmission, diagnosis and treatment of malaria.In April 2012, CCAs and Peace Corps Volunteers from the Southern Zone (Mtwara and Lindi regions) partnered up to attend a 3-day training of trainers workshop. During this workshop, CCA and PCV teams developed strategies and work plans for combating malaria together in their respective communities. CCA Saidi Namonde attended the training with PCV Leslie Cothran.
Saidi Namonde is a father and a farmer in a village of Mtwara Rural district. He has four children. One is a teacher at a secondary school. Two are married. The last-born is studying in secondary school. Throughout the year he harvests a cashew, cassava, maize and coconuts which he sells in Mtwara Town (70km away).
Saidi has been teaching residents of 6 villages in his ward about malaria since he was selected to be a CCA in 2009. His work helps villagers recognize the symptoms of malaria, encourages them to seek early treatment, and teaches them how protect themselves and their families from malaria. He uses traditional drumming and dance to attract an audience for a community malaria education session.
On June 26th, Saidi organized a health education party in a neighboring village. He advertised the event through pre-existing village groups and but the most effective advertising was the day of the event when Chipapahungu, a local drumming group started playing. At least 300 people of all ages came to watch and learn about malaria, family planning, maternal health and the father’s role in family health. His next party is Saturday, August 18th – karibuni (you’re all welcome/invited)!
Excerpt from an interview with Saidi Namonde August 13, 2012:
What inspires you to work as a CCA?
First, I like work. When I work people understand me and I circle around to visit people to teach about malaria. I am happy because the villagers have agreed that I should do this work and I am happy to help people.
Have you seen any changes in the community since you started working as a CCA?
There are many changes in my community. There are a lot less people getting malaria now. These facts are even available at the hospital. I have been teaching for a very long time so that the people remaining who do not understand will understand one day and then we will not have malaria.
What are some of the challenges to your work as a CCA?
…I do have a problem with the community groups, especially the drumming groups. Because I do not have any money to pay them. They have to volunteer and then sometimes they are reluctant to work with me.
When was the last time anyone in your family got malaria?
Two years ago, two of my children had malaria. In April, I got malaria. I think I got malaria when I went to visit one of my older family friends. I slept outside of the malaria net.
What do you see is the future of malaria?
Now, many students see that malaria is a huge problem. My goal of later is that the students in school will not know about malaria and not see it as a problem. Children will know what malaria is but not ever see it.