My last days in Niger and Senegal
It’s been a while since I last wrote as my November visit in Niger was cancelled due to an audit and I had to stay in Dakar.
I arrived in Niger for the second time a couple of weeks ago after a well deserved break in France with my family. I decided to travel to Niger via Burkina Faso (with a transit in Ouagadougou) as I did in September as there was no way for me to have 3 stops to get to Niamey. In the end I was right to chose this route as this time there was no plane issue, no hotels and no delays which was really nice to keep my stress level low.
Just as a reminder my main task in my assignment was to implement the different inventory tools that were created by Valerie Paul, the 2014 GSK volunteer who has done a great job last year. By the way I could witness that she had implemented an inventory book to record the stock movements which is one year later still in use in all the health centres ( I have attached a picture below). The tools she created help forecasting, ordering and globally manage better the inventory and the consumption of the Ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF) Plumpy Nut for children from 0 to 5 years old in Niger who are part of the Save malnutrition programme. The Plumpy Nut is used to help children to put on weight in just a few weeks ( 4 to 5 weeks) and reach a healthy weight according to their age and height.
My second visit in Niger was to finalise the work I had started in September. I still had to provide a training on the different tools to the field teams in Zinder and Tessaoua which would help tracking the stock of Plumpy Nut more accurately to avoid any stock outs.
As I could not travel to Niger in November I have used those 3 weeks to start writing my final report with all my findings, work on a creation of a training pack for another system called CMAM Report (Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition report) which is a reporting data base globally used by Save the Children. And I have also created an aid-memory for the supervisors listing all their tasks before, during and after their visits in the field which would help them organise their day to day work.
Although I had no issue with Air Burkina this time, my internal UN flight to Zinder was cancelled as it seemed that the pilot was ill. I ended up in a car for 12 hours road trip which was quite interesting as I manage to see a lot of Nigerien landscapes and villages. The other side of the story is that we were 4 passengers and I was at the back seated in the middle. We eventually arrived the next day as we had to spend a night in Maradi to avoid travelling during the night.
Here are a few pics once arrived in Zinder.
On a more serious note 🙂 While in Zinder I had the opportunity to attend the Save Global day of action. It was a day when all the staff of all the country offices came together to kick-start their new global strategic period, raising awareness and understanding of their global strategy. A day where they shared what they are planning to achieve for Children in the next few years. It was very interesting and I have learnt a lot.
If I summarize my achievements during the past 6 months in just a few line, I believe that I have managed to do a couple of things and hope that some of them will be sustainable.
- Training of the supply chain tools implemented by Valerie Paul
- Present in front of ECHO ( European commission) the need to pursue the study around RUTF stock management to ensure their 2016 founding for this particular mission
- Creation of a training pack of CMAM report system
- Data collection and submission in the CMAM report data base
- Creation of a laminated ‘Task Memory Aid’ for the Supervisors that they can carry with them all the time
- Introduction to an issue log to the supervisors and managers to track and manage better their day to day work
- Identifying other improvement opportunities from other NGOs such as the World Vision SMS tool
I managed to avoid the trip with the UN plane on my way to Zinder due to the illness of the pilot but not on the way back as I still had to get back to Niamey. But to be honest I thought it would be much better as only 2 hours flight compared to the 12 hours by road trip.
Once arrived in Niamey I really enjoyed my time there.
PULSE has with no doubt been an incredible experience for me with its great times and challenges. These great times that make you remember that people are happy with much more less than what we have in our spoilt countries and these challenges that make you stronger and learn more about yourself and your own limits.
I would like to thank the Pulse team for their support during this time, GSK for giving me this huge opportunity, my friends and family for being present when it was necessary and my home team as it won’t have been possible without them since they are absorbing my workload while away. Also all my colleagues from Save in both Senegal and Niger who helped me a lot. Thanks also for all those who read my Blog posts and all your warm messages as they have been really motivating.
It was a great opportunity to explore new horizons and I really hope that I have contributed to a high standard and that some people have learnt something from me. I have with no doubt learnt a lot about the Nutrition and Health Sector in NGOs and I really encourage anyone in GSK to apply to Pulse if possible as it really broaden both personal and professional perspectives.
These were my last few days in Niger and now in Dakar before coming back to London for good.
It’s time for me to get my life back where I left it but for sure with new perspectives in mind.