Isn’t that a crazy thought? I accepted my invitation to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo leaving June 8, 2015 back in November. There have been some ups and downs in the decision process, but that seems to be expected. I applied back in the beginning of March 2014, interviewed in May, went through legal clearance in June, and got accepted in November. I am working my way through the medical clearance and should be on my way in June!
I will be working in Community Health and Malaria Prevention. As you may know I studied public health at University of Washington where I focused on global health, and I am really looking forward to working in Togo to better understand global health inequities, anyways, more on that later. I have a pretty unique situation for placement as I was placed in Togo after I decided to do a study abroad program in Togo last July, so I had a quick introduction to where I will be living the next two years.
This is my assignment description, and it really is all I know about what I will be doing until I get there in June:
Program: Community Health and Malaria Prevention (CHAMP)
Job Title: Community Health Educator
Dates of Service: August 14, 2015 – August 13, 2017— I finish on my birthday!
Staging Dates: (in the USA) June 8-9, 2015
Pre-Service Training (in Togo): June 12, 2015 – August 13, 2015
As a Community Health Educator, you will be working under the administrative and technical supervision of the Community Health and Family Health division. As a member of a village based health team, you will work closely with at least a team of counterparts: a nurse and/or midwife/birth attendant, a sanitation agent, a social worker and members of local NGOs, a
community based organization, a teacher etc.Your duties and responsibilities will fit into five main components, including and not necessarily limited to:
Health Service Management Improvement: Organizing regular meetings for communication and problem-solving, improving costs recovery management system, forming and training health committees, planning, implementing and evaluating annual or periodic action plans, periodically carrying out knowledge-attitude-practice (KAP) surveys and focus group discussions, and carrying out occasional studies on the quality of service delivery.
Community Health Promotion: Identifying and selecting village volunteers (men and women, young and old) to serve as Community Health Workers (CHWs), training the CHWs in their roles and responsibilities and IEC techniques, ensuring a regular system of supervision and coordination of CHWs activities.
Health Education: Initiating and conducting Information-Education-Communication (IEC) activities (health talks, home visits, counseling) regularly and integrating them into daily, weekly and monthly activity calendars as important components of primary health care, creating and facilitating drama groups (with folk tales, stories and songs), ensuring a regular system of supervision and coordination of CHWs, organizing IEC activities at sport events.
Youth Education on Population Issues, Malaria and HIV/AIDS/STI Prevention: Forming school health clubs and peer education groups, ensuring a regular system of supervision and coordination of school health club activities, organizing IEC activities at sport events, organizing IEC activities for English clubs at the primary and secondary schools and for other
groups such as drivers, hairdressers, tailors/seamstresses, and sex workers.
Community Mobilization: Organizing and working with various committees, such as village development committees, health committees, water committees, and cooperatives, helping the committees in their efforts to initiate development activities, creating, planning, implementing and evaluating community development projects with financial and/or material support from various funding sources; as well as collaborating with village chiefs, social workers, agricultural agents and rural water supply agents.
One of the exciting parts of your professional work is to participate in the Peace Corps monitoring, reporting, and evaluation (MRE) process. All Volunteers receive training on the Peace Corps MRE tracking and reporting system. Each Volunteer regularly reports MRE information and this information is summarized to describe overall progress of the project. This
important MRE system helps Peace Corps improve its programming and report its accomplishments. The opportunity to learn and practice professional monitoring and evaluation skills are some of the many valued benefits of Peace Corps service.
So, I know that is a lot of information and it is not necessary to read, but just an overview of what I will be doing in Togo. It looks like 2015 is going to be a great year!