August 30-31, 2013
It seemed like a long wait for the CHWs but when it took off, it was surely worth the wait. The exchange visits for the CHWs were a great success! There was overwhelming support in planning and execution of this activity. AMREF/LKL, focal persons, CHEWs, CHWs, CHCs and communities made significant contributions to this success.
It was an opportunity for the CHWs to interact, have fun and learn from each other. It was interesting to see how the groups had become close-knit over a very short time. For most of them, these visits would prove to be an opportunity, in many years, to visit Kibera or Makueni for the first time. The contrast between the two was sharp.
Unlike Kibera were households are close to each other, it took time and effort to move from one household or village to the other in Makueni. This was however not a challenge but a fun activity as the team walked across dry river channels, over massive rocks, up and down the hills under the scorching Makueni sun. On the other hand, in Kibera, it was easy to go through most of the units and household and witness the good job that the pioneers of community strategy in Kenya have done over the years for their community.
Reception in households was amazing. The household members willingly engaged in health discussions and displayed health behaviors that they had learnt from their CHWs. From households to schools health behaviors had been adopted. In Makueni, for example, Kitumbini primary school had also benefited from the CHWs expertise in designing a hand washing solution using locally available materials. Leaky tins and soap had been strategically placed outside the latrines to allow easy access and use.
In Kibera, a lot of projects had taken root courtesy of government funding, support from AMREF, and individual contributions. Creative arts like beading and basketry, poultry farming generic viagra online among others are examples of what the CHWs engage in to earn a living. Makueni team was so eager to replicate some of the projects they had visited in Kibera. Contacts were exchanged and follow up was being made via phone.
It was evident at the end of each visit how much the activity meant to them. Their only hope is that such interactive activities would be a regular occurrence.