Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Malaria outreach with Safe Shimoni

No day is the same when you are working on the Community Project in Coastal Kenya.  Each day we spend time planning community programs, developing lesson plans, teaching in the classrooms and most importantly just spending time with the children.  Each day is a rewarding experience, but occasionally we also get to witness some remarkable events that truly put things in perspective.
Nikki with the boys from Safe Shimoni

Safe Shimoni is a local activist group which aims to improve the health conditions on the southern coast of Kenya.   GVI works closely with the group and aids them with proposal writing and presentation techniques.  I was fortunate enough to attend one of their Malaria Outreach sessions in Mkwiro on Wasini Island.  The outreach was directed towards the women of the village, and to my surprise nearly 100 women turned up.  It took place outside the primary school overlooking the water.  Safe Shimoni had close to 15 representatives, who presented themselves and began the presentation with a quick overview of their aims and objectives.  Then, each representative took a group of 10 women to have a more in-depth conversation regarding the topic.  Safe Shimoni came with laminated picture books which explicitly explained the dangers of Malaria.  The women, despite their natural reservations, were intrigued and very involved in the group discussions.  The lesson covered also the use of mosquito nets, bug repellant and the effects Malaria can have on one’s body.
The fact that most people in the village still slept without a mosquito net and had very little knowledge on Malaria was alarming to me.  However, Safe Shimoni did such an incredible job reaching out to these community members and expanding their knowledge.  The session was in Kiswahili so I only picked up some of the words, yet I was still inspired by the presentation and the reaction it evoked from the local women.  Leaving the session that day reminded me how change is needed everywhere, but it only takes some motivated individuals to start the process.