I am sorry I am behind on my blog 🙂 I know many of you look for them on Mondays! Which really makes me feel great, by the way.
Well, these last two weeks are all about the work I have been a part of over the past 6 months coming to fruition. It is amazing to see the great work done with the collaborative efforts here in Kenya. We are currently implementing 3 of my top project objectives by utilizing; the Obstetric Fistula 3 Day Community Health Volunteer (CHV) Training Curriculum, the IEC materials (Community Outreach Guide or COG) and the obstetric fistula client flow within the public hospital.
These next 6 days (Monday, Dec 15th- Saturday, Dec 20th) 2 local NGO’s in Western Kenya will be trained on my obstetric fistula training to mobilize the community, identify, refer and help women with and/or at risk of obstetric fistula. We just finished the 3 Day training with the first organization. Here are some of the pictures so you can see them in action!
Not only have I been able to be a part of and observe the training curriculum but as you can see from the pictures the IEC materials were also finalized. The community outreach guide is just like a sales aid and has literally taken me 6 months to complete it for use. You will see the images within this blog, the team learning how to work with this tool, apply it to their role and have it to ensure consistent educational messages. This piece is going to provide these organizations with the resources they need to drive community mobilization and women in for repair. (I would like to thank a PULSE colleague of mine, Joerg Mayer, for taking the time to work with me in the community to obtain most of the images in this piece.)
The last objective has been in place at the hospital but because of that work I was able to incorporate this knowledge and resource within the training. I have a session within the training that walks through the referral process in a public health facility. So, the mapping of the obstetric client flow process gave the team the opportunity to put all they have learned into an overall simulation of identifying a client in the community, to referral and ending with their important role with reintegration!
It was incredible to see this team learning, caring and understanding expand over the past 3 days. They are ready to get out into the community and help these women who suffer so deeply from obstetric fistula. I believe the real connection to this work came when 2 survivors and their friend came to share their stories.
You could see them captivated by the stories of these women, what they have and continue to go through as they heal. The compassion in the room and the number of questions were indicators that what they have been learning had come to life in their hearts.
I had the opportunity to see the curriculum unfold and am currently working on the adjustments I saw so far and feedback from the group to help improve what was put into place. Next we head to Kisii to train the 2nd group utilizing the materials. This will allow me 2 test groups to really tweak any areas of concern and enhance the curriculum. I am still in shock that my project timing has worked out to allow me this opportunity. When I originally booked my roundtrip flight to Kenya in May preparing for my PULSE assignment something made me wait until the end of the weekend to head
back home on Monday, December 22nd. About midway through my assignment when I started looking at when all of the other PULSE teammates were heading home in December I started kicking myself for not flying out that Friday or Thursday. I was even questioning what was going through my mind when I booked this flight. But as the Universe always does, I was shown to have faith and know everything is as it should be. This is when my project started to shift a bit and then slowly all unraveled. I watched as the Fistula Foundation brought 2 additional community outreach organizations on board. Next thing I know they are starting and needing to be trained in December. How convenient that my curriculum is complete enough to move forward. (This is where I need to do some shout outs to a few women who really were instrumental in making this happen- I want to give my appreciation to: Courtney Brown, Melissa Weston, Doreen Phillips and Alison Quinn (my teammates in Commercial Capabilities)for going above and beyond and formatting the Leader Guides and Training slide deck! It was because of this work that we were able to move forward and run the training curriculum.) Originally the trainings were going to be split to one during the week of Dec 8th and the other the week of Dec 15th. But plans continued to change and the training kept moving. Now one group was trained Dec 15th-17th and we are training the team in Kisii from Dec 18th-20th. Hence, my flight now makes more sense and it also allowed me to be a part of the second training 🙂 When you are questioning why you are doing something or did something… wait and let it unfold, by having faith and patience the world may reveal some wonders you might have missed. I am finding I listen more to my intuition and at times I am going with the flow. I might at one time in my life already had changed my flight and then kicked myself later because I would have missed out on this opportunity. So, I’m slowly learning to not always push but wait and see. It isn’t easy and sometimes I just can’t but I find the times I do it really is eye opening.
I feel so blessed to have been a part of the obstetric fistula work and know it will forever be within my soul, as even during training when explaining some of my experiences in working with these delicate women my eyes fill with tears because we are healing together as women.