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Senegal

World Health Day 2019

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World Health Day is on 7 April and to mark the day THP is celebrating the right to universal health care.

A key part of the infrastructure supporting our Epicentre Strategy in Africa is the health clinic – the life source of every community.

Coki Epicentre Health Clinic

Health clinic near Coki Epicentre

For example, at the Coki Epicentre in Senegal, a local health clinic has transformed the health and wellbeing of the community. Previously, the most common health complaint were life threatening diseases like diarrhoea and malaria. Since the health clinic has started treating community members, a typical health complaint is now the common cold.

Alawatu

Alawatu, Midwife at Coki Health Clinic

Alawatu is a midwife at a health clinic in the Coki community. To date, she has delivered the babies of more than 30 mothers, many of whom she accompanied to the local hospital on the back of a cart pulled by donkey! Previously she would attend to women giving birth in their homes, but often the mother and the baby would die due to the lack of medical treatment available. Now, Alawatu and the other midwives have almost eliminated all maternal deaths in the community.

A THP health clinic is so much more than what you might first think:

It is a safe place:

  • Where women give birth to healthy babies.
  • Where children get vaccinated.
  • That offers ongoing support to the sick and ill.
  • At the forefront of the fight to against malaria.
  • That educates the community about the benefits of good hygiene practices.

THP’s results on health

In partnership with communities across Africa in 2018:

  • 184,344 people who accessed health services.
  • 128,430 people who participated in health workshops.
  • 69,641 vaccinations delivered.
  • 12,704 people accessing HIV/AIDS services.

This World Health Day we celebrate the power of health clinics and the people that work in them to transform their community’s health and wellbeing.

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This is what ending hunger looks like

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Almost half of the population of Senegal lives on less than US$1.25 a day. One in five children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working and not in school. There are often shortages of food and high levels of unemployment.

These statistics are not just figures. They are the reality for thousands of people living in Senegal. It is also what life was like for people living in Ndereppe, a community in Senegal, before the community partnered with The Hunger Project 13 years ago.

“Everyone here in Ndereppe has been impacted by The Hunger Project. It was as if we were living in the dark and now we finally see the light.” – Aseensar, a member of the Ndereppe community.

The Hunger Project’s partnership was the catalyst for the people of Ndereppe to interrupt their own mindset about what was possible for themselves and their future – and ultimately to achieve self-reliance.

“Before, I did not have the ability or funds to own sheep. My situation began to improve after I attended The Hunger Project’s Entrepreneurship Workshops and took a microfiance loan from the local bank. At the start, I was afraid to make investments and take loans, but I’ve found the confidence to do it, and as a result I have yielded 2 tonnes of grain for my family and trading.”

The magnitude of Ndereppe’s success would not have been possible without your support and the commitment and persistence of the Ndereppe community. By empowering women and men to become the authors of their own destiny, they have been able to achieve things they used to think were impossible. Children are attending school, unemployment has dropped and the community has access to clean water and quality healthcare. They have ended hunger in their community.

Students raise funds to eliminate hunger from their community

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The Hunger Project runs 8 month-long ‘Functional Adult Literacy Classes’ in Coki, Senegal that are open for both men and women to attend.  The classes are free for students and run for 3 hours, 4 times per week.  The Hunger Project pays the teachers a salary and provides all the books required for the training.

As adults, the students face a greater challenge in learning to read and write, but say they  “know education is the key to a different future…”. They are committed to learning and work hard every morning so they’re free to come to classes in the afternoons.

The students have come to understand the value of education, as they’ve seen the way it’s transforming lives and their community.  They want literacy classes run independently of The Hunger Project one day, so have chosen to make personal contributions toward a venture that will generate an income and ensure their vision comes to life.

Together, they are raising male sheep to sell for breeding. All the income raised will go back into funding the literacy classes.

Meet Coumba

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Coumba, the epitome of leading through a “power with” others approach.

As a young girl Coumba was illiterate, yet through The Hunger Project training she’s now a senior leader in the Senegal National Government who has trained more than 5,000 women to create and run their own successful businesses.

The Mayor of Coki described her as the “lion”. When we asked her about leadership and lifting other women up, her advice was “yawou, yawou, yawou”…wake up, wake up, wake up to the possibilities. Lift the most unfortunate and underprivileged along with you.

Belinda Brosnan shares her experience meeting Coumba, one of our incredible village partners in Senegal.

Ndeye’s vision for a better future

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Ndeye Loum is a volunteer who has been trained by The Hunger Project in Coki, Senegal.  She lives in a village called Kane’ene Khar and says, before her training, there was no way she would have spoken in front of a group of people to talk about the issues affecting her and the wider community.  Before Ndeye’s training, she couldn’t even envision a life free from hunger and poverty.  That’s all changed now!

Ndeye is confident there is a better life available to all and is determined to share everything she’s learned with her community. After she learned to read and write, a brand new world opened up to her.   Her new literacy skills allowed her to take up the opportunity to become a teacher and earn an income to support her and her family.  She is able to send her children to school and has upgraded from a tin house – where they slept on a mattress on the floor – to a brick house – where they sleep on a large ornate wooden bed (she is very proud!).  She has visions of her children having a future free from the cultural practices that held her back in earlier life – like child marriage and lack of education.

As Ndeye’s standard of living began to improve, so did her vision of the future for her community.  She developed a desire to create change on a greater scale and with the support of her family, she has been able to become more involved in the programs at the Epicentre.  Her family understands that she has the opportunity to contribute to the wider community and empower others living in hunger.

She says “Many years ago it was not possible to find any women in my village who were literate… Now because of The Hunger Project we can read, write and even text!’.  In 5 years she hopes to be a big trader and to be invited into communities everywhere to deliver training sessions that will help transform people’s beliefs and their lives.

ABY’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP EMPOWERS HER FAMILY AND WOMEN IN HER COMMUNITY

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Aby Ndiaye lives in Badar Gueye, Senegal together with her five children and husband, and is an active member of The Hunger Project’s Diokoul Epicentre. After completing middle school, she attended literacy classes for two more years before becoming the main point of contact for all monitoring and evaluation activities in the village committee. Today, she is a champion of her community’s development. Her strength and perseverance have seen her take on many leadership roles, including becoming the Vice President of the Diokoul Epicentre Committee during the Epicentre restructuring process in 2013.

Aby believes development happens when girls, youth and women are engaged and empowered to take ownership of their own change. A woman of action, Aby has become a key driver of awareness-generating activities and an advocate for the challenges faced by women in her community.

As a community leader, Aby pioneered principles of microfinance in her Epicentre. By adopting a “savings before credit” approach, in just one year, Aby was able to raise more than 200,000 CFRA Francs to begin a special savings fund for her village. The fund is a village savings and credit account that supports 42 village women, offering loans for anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 CFA Francs per person. These loans are used to grow the community’s income-generating activities, such as embroidery and petty trading.

Aby knows that empowered women benefit their entire society. She too generates income through petty trade activities. By buying vegetables from farmers and selling them in her village markets, she is able to provide clothing and schooling for her five children. Her impact is acknowledged by the wider community; the Epicentre Committee President describes Aby as a “dynamic person, committed to the development of her village and the Epicentre.”

Post courtesy of The Hunger Project Global Office

PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF MALARIA, TUBERCULOSIS AND HIV/AIDS IN SENEGAL

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The Hunger Project-Senegal is proud to report the successful conclusion of another year’s participation in the IntraHealth malaria program. In the last year, trained extension workers with partner community-based organizations (CBOs) reached 17,000 individuals through 870 discussions on malaria. Additional program successes included several hundred discussions at community events to raise awareness of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS; and awareness-building conversations with more than 32,000 individuals through almost 4,900 home visits. In total, from January through September 2016, extension workers within the IntraHealth program have hosted over 2,300 discussions and conducted over 13,000 home visits on malaria control and infection prevention.

The IntraHealth malaria program began in 2013, when IntraHealth selected The Hunger Project-Senegal as one of twelve recipients of a grant from the Global Fund to implement a campaign against malaria at the community level. The Hunger Project-Senegal then contracted with CBOs in the regions of Senegal’s capital Dakar and Tambacounda, near the western border with Mali. Each CBO-sponsored extension worker attended a training workshop conducted by local etablissement publique de santé, or public health establishments, in conjunction with The Hunger Project and IntraHealth. Extension workers participated in brainstorming, role-play and active discussions to learn how to inform and encourage communities to adopt best practices for malaria control and prevention. Extension workers were also trained to communicate best practices for preventing the spread of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, while devastating, are also preventable. For example, sleeping under insecticide treated mosquito nets is a simple but effective way of preventing and controlling malaria. In addition to the IntraHealth program, The Hunger Project often works with other like-minded organizations to distribute mosquito nets and provide free screenings for HIV/AIDs, and partners with community-led groups to raise awareness. When given access to tools such as mosquito nets and blood tests, and empowered with accurate information, individuals can protect themselves and their families. In fact, at the Ndereppe Epicenter in Senegal, the proportion of children who slept under bed nets increased from 4.60% in 2005 to 67.87% in 2016, and the proportion of the population aware of their HIV status increased from 1.10% to 53.59% – an incredible, and life-saving, achievement.

During the latest round of home visits, IntraHealth malaria extension workers found that 88% of households were using mosquito nets treated with insecticide, and 92% of beds overall were covered. This marked continued improvement towards the goal of universal usage of insecticide-treated mosquito nets. Extension workers also identified 142 cases of chronic coughing during home visits for tuberculosis, referring 140 of those individuals to health facilities for additional screening and testing.

Over the course of the IntraHealth malaria program, extension workers continue to receive training and support such as fact sheets and flyers with answers to frequently asked questions. In addition, district managers, representatives from each CBO and The Hunger Project-Senegal program coordinator meet regularly to discuss challenges and plan future activities.

Credit: The Hunger Project Global Office