Saturday, July 19, 2008

Good changes are happening in Malueka!

Last Sept. a group called HPP Congo (Humana People to People, Congo) came and asked if the church would like to be their partner in helping mobilize a community. This is an international NGO that is trying to improve the quality of life of poor areas of the world by teaching communities independence. They have a 10 arm plan to implement into communities.
1. Hygiene and Sanitation
2. Security for children without parents
3. Pre-school
4. Strengthen the economy of families
5. Youth activity in political, social , cultural and economics
6. Education/ Literacy
7. District development
8. Safe and healthy envirnoment
9. Food Security
10. Limit Malaria

The HPP Team
The church agreed to fund two arms of the HPP program, Health and Hygiene and Literacy. The Health and Hygiene program started immediately and used the church's Family Health and Hygiene manual for training.
littered pathway family well
cooking facility
Malueka is a community of 4200 families. There is high unemployment rate and a lot of illiteracy. Most of the people speak Lingala only. Often the families have to choose which child to send to school as they can not afford to send them all. Families average 5 - 7 children. Water comes from family wells which are often contaminated and their is little knowledge of healthy living practices.
Coordinators Family Hygiene Class
HPP mobilized the community by calling family action group coordinators from the community and training them to be educators for the program. Two family action group coordinators became responsible for 10 families. They followed up with their families offering encouragement and helping them to see how to improve their families living conditions to reach a higher standard of living and there by avoiding illness and disease.

Health and Hygiene training for coordinators
This is a class conducted in Lingala by Rochelle (yellow sleeve shirt). She is an employee of HPP and is teaching the Family Coordinators how to teach the class. Most classes are held outside under the Mango tree at various places in the neighborhood.

The project required that each family in Malueka would revise their latrines to meet the minimal standards. They needed to have a door that would open and close and they needed to have a cement base with a cover for the hole to keep flies from entering the holes. Thirty latrines were funded for the project. The community groups voted which families would receive the latrines provided by the church funds. They were chosen as to their need and level of risk (widows, elderly, handicapped), etc. Those receiving the latrines had to provide the labor and if they were unable to do all the labor their neighbors pitched in and helped them there by learning to care for one another, learning to cooperate and learning how to be a community.

Latrine holes were dug deep enough to accommodate 2 ½ 50 gallon drums that had their tops and bottoms removed and were welded together in a tube. This would keep the holes from collapsing in the sand. The latrines were build of wood and covered with a galvanized medal roof. Note the pop bottle lids used as washers to secure the screws.

We observed the community making many changes because of the Family Health and Hygiene program. We saw yards being swept clean. Refuge pits were dug and used for disposing of garbage. Cooking areas were cleaned and sheds were built with a shelf to put cooking utensils up off the ground.

Washing stations were set up where people could wash their hands before cooking, eating or after using the latrine. Mothers were taught nutrition for their families and the importance of protein, carbohydrates and the need for a variety of foods to meet the needs for vitamins and minerals.

The before and after of the latrines.
The new latrines are easy to clean and have a cement base to stand on with a cement cover for the hole which is easily moved on and off the hole. UNICEF funded cement bases with covers for all 4200 families in the community.
This elderly woman was so excited to get a new latrine and was very appreciative of the Health and Hygiene training she was able to receive.
We had planned on giving Family Hygiene Kits to each family who received the new latrines. The community leaders had been so responsive and had worked so hard, volunteering many hours to the project and had been very responsive to their responsibilities. When we held our closing ceremony it was decided to give the kits to the Family Action Group Coordinators as a thank you for all their hard work. They were pleased and were grateful to have their efforts acknowledged. One coordinator spoke for all the leaders. She said, ”In five years (HPPs time frame for the mobilization of the community) Malueka will be a model community. We are learning to help each other. We are learning how to take better care of our children. We didn’t know what foods were important to our children. We now know that our children need protein every day. We know that we need to boil our drinking water to prevent getting sick. These hygiene kits are very much appreciated but the best thing in this kit is the bar of soap. That is what we will use the most, a bar of soap. Thank you for your help for our community.”

Who will benefit the most from this community raising their standard of living? The children will be the biggest beneficiaries.
This first Health and Hygiene project went so well and was so successful we were able to get the church to fund 50 more latrines.
More to come on Malueka as we are ready to close the Literacy project. We can't wait to report on it.
Things are changing in Malueka.


Megan said...

This is so exciting...and to think I've been there. I love hearing about all your projects. This is great!

Tiffany said...

Hi Farrell and Marilyn,
I have been looking at the wonderful pictures that you've been sending with Ben and Tiffany's computer. They are wonderful. The children look so, so nice. They are dressed so cute. I'm surprised at the beauty shop. Their hair is so, so cute. You both look so good! It must agree with you, helping all of those wonderful people. Everything here is fine. We miss you so much. The weather looks great too. No heavy coats or snow boots. Our last winter was cold with alot of snow so it seems you have summer all year long. Your grandchildren (Ben and Tiffany's) are all doing so well. They miss you like I miss you. It will be wonderful to see you again! Stay well and happy.
Lots of love, Jeannine Shea