Tagged: give

Let Girls Learn

Dear Family and Friends,

I am so excited to share with you this amazing project that we are developing here in Madagascar for young girls.
A group of 20 Peace Corps Volunteers are planning a National Girls Empowerment Camp for the end of April 2016. Each volunteer will bring 5 smart and ambitious young girls from their respective communities to attend a 5 day Conference in the Capital city, Antananarivo. This National Girls Camp will bring together Malagasy Girls from multiple ethnicities to focus on issues relevant to adolescent girls, specifically: leadership development, self efficacy, goal setting, and life planning – which includes higher education and work.
Regional GLOW Camps have been held across Madagascar for years but never engaging multiple Malagasy ethnicities in one learning environment. This National GLOW Camp promotes the leadership development of young women, of different Malagasy ethnicities, so they can become effective leaders. In order to achieve this, youth must be aware of themselves – of their current situation and challenges, of their goals and aspirations, and of their potential for success and leadership – and be aware of the community that surrounds them. Once aware, youth will be able to analyze themselves and their communities, become knowledgeable about them, and become able to propose solutions. GLOW Camp provides a proactive environment that applies equally to individual development and social actions. Furthermore, GLOW supports and nurtures young women, providing educational opportunities, guidance and validation – all within the context of reinforcing pride in the student’s cultural background and his/her self esteem. Through this National GLOW Camp, young women- of different backgrounds- work together, support each other, learn about and promote their heritage, and develop skills and commitment to serve their community.
This project addresses the critical issue of women’s empowerment, incorporating the components necessary to encourage girls to lead healthy and productive lives. In each of our communities, girls face a variety of difficulties related to their personal and professional development due to limited resources, assigned gender roles and lack of awareness of the opportunities available to them. Girls become sexually active at a young age and often do not receive adequate education regarding sexual health, particularly related to HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. The promotion of a healthy lifestyle is essential for these girls to realize their life goals, along with the awareness of opportunities and empowerment needed to encourage them to take the steps necessary to fulfill these goals. As a result, educators, parents and community members have identified the GLOW camp as an effective tool for promoting girls’ development and community and youth development overall through the transfer of knowledge in the short-term and the cultivation of strong role models and positive behavior
change in the long-term.
How is the community the driving force behind the project?
In each of our respective communities, Malagasy counterparts will be directly involved in the selection of the girls to be involved in the camp, and all girls falling within the appropriate age group are encouraged to apply. Interested girls will complete an application that highlights their particular goals and reasons for wanting to participate in the camp. Participants will then be selected through a comprehensive process that involves several stakeholders and are believed to represent the greatest potential for personal development as well as potential to teach and influence other members of the community, particularly youth. Female chaperones from each community will accompany the girls chosen. These women are role models for the girls and can act as mentors for future life decisions, having made connections and received the same trainings during the camp. Both the PCVs and community representatives collaborated to identify priorities for youth development within each community, and camp subjects were designed to address these priorities including both health and life goals. Additionally, PCVs will work with representatives from local organizations and institutions to prepare the camp sessions with the intent to promote learning, discussion and critical thinking among the participants.
Desired outcome of the project:
The desired outcome in the long-term is to empower the camp participants and provide them with the tools necessary to achieve their life goals and to become positive role models capable of encouraging their peers to do the same. In the short-term, 100 young girls will be taught in issues relating to health, career goals and education to encourage their own personal development while building community capacity to address the issues that adolescent girls face.
Please take a look at the brochure I have attached and consider supporting this amazing project!
Follow the link below for more information on how you can make a difference now!

Empowering young girls

The primary objective of this project is to educate adolescent girls about issues related to health, education and life goals through a five-day GLOW, or Girls Leading Our World, camp. We hope to empower participants to lead healthier lives and give them the tools to achieve their life goals related to work and education by learning about opportunities available to them, and in turn teach other girls in their communities about lessons learned. The camp will be held in the capital city of Antananarivo for 100 girls and 20 women chaperones from 20 different communities across multiple regions of Madagascar.

The GLOW curriculum will focus on issues relevant to adolescent girls and specifically leadership development, self-efficacy, goal setting and life planning – including higher education and work. In the short term, we will encourage the girls to reflect on and discuss the subjects addressed during the camp, and then transfer knowledge gained to peer groups in their communities through additional trainings and discussions. In the long term, we hope that the girls will adopt healthy habits and become role models to other individuals in their communities, encouraging behavior change and eventually empowering themselves and others to lead their best possible lives. The community contribution includes supplies to promote a good learning environment for the girls throughout the camp, time donated by chaperones to help the camp run smoothly, and materials donated to facilitate learning in the communities after the camp has ended.

This project has been designed to expand access to education for girls in Madagascar as part of the Let Girls Learn Program. Learn more at letgirlslearn.peacecorps.gov.


Please donate to our project!

https://donate.peacecorps.gov/donate/project/national-glow-camp/IMG_1291 (2)



The Dream Stealer.

“Malaria is a dream stealer!”

Second day attending the Senegal Malaria Boot Camp. After two days of traveling, meeting 33 Peace Corps volunteers serving all over Africa, Bootcamp has begun!

Today has been extremely informational and educational. This afternoon, we had the opportunity to skype Dr. David Sullivan from Johns Hopkins University. His focus has been on infectious diseases and in particular a large focus on Malaria.

We began the discussion by defining “what is malaria?”

My fellow PCV ‘s answered with academic responses such as ” Malaria is a parasite driven disease with two vectors….”
Dr. David responded, “yes, but in reality Malaria is a dream stealer!”
He is right, malaria has been stealing dreams from children in sub-Saharan Africa for decades and continues at a rapid pace. Last year alone 1 million deaths mainly affecting children under 5 and pregnant women were caused by malaria.

Some background on Malaria in Africa:

There are 5 strains of malaria, the most common and lethal one being P. Falciparum. When considering Madagascar the entire island is at risk, with hot spots being the east coast due to the seasonal rain showers and humidity.

Symptoms of Malaria are :
-cyclical fever
-large spleen


Within these African countries there are several different diagnosis methods.
The first and gold standard being microscopic testing, with blood smear. This allows you to know quantitatively how much parasite or infection density parasite per micro liter is in that person.
The difficulty of microscopy are that it is time consuming ( 15-20 ) mins, requires trained experts to administer and use the equipment, and of requires the equipment.

The next diagnosis method and what I believe to be a huge innovation are RDT’s ( rapid diagnostic tests ). These tests come in small packages. The plastic test has a small location to place the blood droplet after you have pricked the patient and a small space for the buffer liquid to be placed. In ten minutes the results can be seen.
The advantages are that the RDT’s are sensitive, fast, simple to perform. Most importantly require no electricity.

The disadvantage is that the RDT’s do not test for P. Vivax a strain of malaria common in Tanzania and parts of East Africa.

Some fun statistics, “In 2012, 200 million RDT’s were given out most being given to Africa!”

On a community or village level, I have personally seen the benefits of using the RDT’s and the quick results being produced. Of course like everything there is not a 100% efficacy rate, there may be false negatives or damaged tests.

While speaking with Dr. David he brought up an interesting graph showing the effect that heat has on RDT’s. Imagine for a moment a box of 300 RDT’s coming to my village on the East Coast of Madagascar. The tests have travelled days even weeks, spending maybe hours in hot humid weather. The graph showed that hot weather reduces the efficacy of the tests. Therefore it is important to keep in mind that there may be some false negatives.

The larger issue in wanting to eliminate malaria in African countries is that individuals can be asymptomatic. These asymptomatic individuals can still transmit the disease.
I think to myself, well an active approach to this problem is to test all who have cyclical fevers or are showing signs or malaria. The problem is that asymptomatic individuals show absolutely no symptoms… What to do then?

The treatment for malaria is ACT. It is an artemisinin based drug which dissolved the heme killing the parasite. There are different drugs who treat malaria stage specific illness. Ex: liver stage, red blood cell stage.

I have found a backlash from my community in taking ACT due to the fact that the second day of taking the three pill treatment, the patient feels very weak. In Mahanoro people have steered away from taking the treatment to malaria because of the controversy behind the feeling and bodily reaction when taking the pills.
This year I need to focus on working with my Community Health Workers, to educate the community about the importance of taking this drug.

I am looking forward to doing more research and learning more about what is on the horizon for Malaria Initiatives and inventions in the future. I have heard of talks of:

-a vaccine against malaria arising
-lasers killing mosquitoes carrying P.falciparum ( look it up so cool!)
-and using saliva and urine for diagnosis instead of blood samples

Things are looking up. Malaria has received much attention in the news and researchers are working hard.

With the help of global actors, private investors and local governments I believe we will eradicate malaria in Africa in 15 years!