06 Jun Community Change Agents in Niassa
9,572 active volunteers/community health workers/teams of life members in the diocese.
In 2015, their work was wide-reaching and varied. For example they;
- taught and mobilized their communities about HIV, health, agriculture
- supported sick, elderly people and vulnerable children
- tended gardens to support their own work
- built or rehabilitated houses for people in need
- advocated for things they believe in
- encouraged dignity-enhancing changes through the construction of improved stoves and latrines
Some of their successes of 2015 are:
Agriculture and Sustainable Livelihoods
- 25 savings and loan groups were formed and trained, with 435 members
- 7,560 families started growing vitamin-rich orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
- 2,307 people received teaching on improved conservation agricultural techniques
- 2,254 farmers are now trialling new techniques such as green manure, careful spacing, mulching and improved seeds
- 784 prenatal visits were conducted by trained traditional birth attendants, who assisted 344 births; 19 new traditional birth attendants were trained
- A network of 575 counselors (one for every 10 households) received training in 8 health themes
- Health facilitators collectively walked approximately 18,000km on foot to reach remote communities, many of which are not accessible by road
- Community health work expanded into 23 new communities, at the request of the Provincial Health Department
- 18 active health committees facilitated community-led monitoring of health outcomes and available health services
- 160 epilepsy patients and 31 patients with psychosis received treatment
Disaster Preparation and Response
Several emergency situations within the Diocese— in particular, floods and cholera—complicated other work. The floods and cholera affected even our staff, some of whom lost their homes and fell sick. Despite all this, our planned work continued. The Diocese of Niassa believes that handouts sometimes get in the way of long term development. However, in the case of emergency scenarios it is sometimes necessary to give donations to save lives, and we do this with the utmost care and caution.
1. 35 trained community committees are actively implementing Disaster Risk Reduction. Every religion in a community is represented on these committees as well as community leaders.
2. 10,154 households received teaching on the prevention of cholera
3. 2,750 families, of which 1,430 lost their houses, received support donations. The supported families had 9,518 people (including 1,303 orphaned children, 3,150 children and youth and 680 elderly people).
4. The support given was of 137,500kg of maize, 2,700 bars of soap, 2,700 mosquito nets, 2,700 hoes, 7,200 bottles of chlorine, 4,500kg of maize seeds, 54kg of vegetable seeds, 3,600kg of cassava cuttings and 900kg of peanut seeds.
- HIV teaching was integrated into all thematic areas within the Diocese
- Mobile treatment and laboratory services were provided to 158 people monthly
- There was continued management of a testing laboratory at the health centre in Cobue, Lago district
- 5,344 people representing 250 communities celebrated World Aids Day
- At least 4,504 people went for HIV tests as a result of our facilitation
- A team of people living openly with HIV shared their stories in Lúrio district
- Activists facilitated conversations about HIV in 14,692 houses representing 94,843 people.
Hygiene, Water and Sanitation (WASH)
- 10 new volunteer hygiene animators reached 42,000 households with a reported reduction in child diarrhea and twice the number of households with latrines.
- Activity based lessons on hygiene were taught in 49 schools
- 51 well management committees were formed or trained
- Hygiene work expanded into new areas of the Diocese, and now takes place in the Districts of Lago, Lichinga, Milange, Morrumbala and Mecanhelas.
- The construction of 3 rainwater harvesting tanks, 3 improved water supplies and 2 institutional latrines was facilitated
- Staff were trained in the use of a newly- purchased water quality testing kit
- A series of modules was developed and is being piloted in 7 communities targeting 21,786 households
- Teaching on enriched porridge, breastfeeding and weaning food was given in 18,132 households
- The first nutrition baseline survey was conducted.
- There is increased community appreciation of local capacity to nourish their children well.
Click on the link below to read the full report from the Diocese of Niassa.