Friday, September 16, 2011

Work Stuff: Baseline Survey and Potential Work Projects

Before I begin working on any projects in my village I have to do a Baseline Survey and lay out an Action Plan for my service. There are three main neighborhoods in Salémata and the Quartier Mosqué, my neighborhood, has approximately 61 family compounds. So far I've  taken my survey questionnaire around to almost all the compounds in my neighborhood and a few in the other two neighborhoods, and people have been really helpful and receptive. I did my survey in Pulaar, and I asked things like how many people live on the compound, where they get water, if there's a latrine, and about the communities health challenges and resources. I'm currently setting up an Excel spreadsheet and getting ready to enter in all that data -- sometimes life in Africa exactly as exciting as life in any office in America.

Once I get all my baseline data organized and sorted out I'll have a better idea of what projects I'll propose in my Action Plan, but here are a few things I could work on that people I interviewed suggested:

Latrines: It's nice to have a toilet, even if it's a pit toilet, and many people here do not. Diarrheal diseases, like amoebic dysentery, are a major cause of suffering and death here, and a lack of latrines contributes heavily to that problem.

Malaria: Malaria is still a huge problem here and I'll definitely be working on finding ways to reduce malaria in my village. Having a training on making neem lotion, and to teach others to make it, There are Long-Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets, indoor spraying,

Reproductive Health: From basic human anatomy to ways to prevent infections to reliable family planning options, there's a need for accurate information about reproductive health, especially for young people. There are many people who have a lot of good knowledge about health, but here's also a lot of misinformation out there - for instance, I've had several people tell me that pregnant women shouldn't eat foods rich in vitamins because it will make the baby too big and cause difficulties during childbirth, which is both untrue and potentially very harmful to mothers and children.

Nutrition: From underweight babies to iodine deficiency, there are a lot of food and nutrition issues in my area. Promoting moringa gardens, use of iodized salt, and having workshops on basic nutrition and how to make simple enriched porridges to help malnourished kids recuperate are a few examples of potential projects.

Here's some more info on the Preventative Health work that Peace Corps Volunteers do in Senegal:

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