As most people know in development, the field is often more riddled with questions than answers. Common among these questions is how to measure an organization’s impact. Does one use fancy metrics to chart how a project develops and analyze data? Or does one rely on qualitative analysis, the actually question and survey approach of whether a person is better or worse off after a given project? Fortunately for me, GlobeMed, in partnership with the H.O.P.E Center, provided me both measurements over two days of unique site visits and insight into their remarkable work.
Day 1: Quantitative Data
As I walked into the office of Margaret Asante, the head nurse of the HOPE Center, the first question in my head was “what was on the walls?” Covering the right wall of the Center was a series of post-it notes each dated and named. Margaret explained that this was how the center was visually tracking the birth weights of babies until the age of 5. It was not difficult to extrapolate from these figures that the organization was having an incredible impact on the health of the rural communities. The center sees nearly 90 patients a day both male and female, has started a testing lab, and plans to expand its services to prenatal care. In metrics alone, under the leadership of Margaret, with support from GlobeMed, the HOPE Center certainly is high performing, but what do the communities say?
Day 2: Qualitative Data
After the details of day 1, Allyson along with three other members of the Northwestern GlobeMed summer team (Joey, Reema, Kathleen) led Alexis and I to Ando Village, one of the communities most impacted by the work of the HOPE Center. We all piled into a small taxi and weaved our way through cornfields until we reached the village and where we were greeted by a young woman named Esther. With some help from John (teacher) to rally the women, we sat down to learn about impact from the women themselves. At this point, I utilized what I call the “smile standard” (rating 0-10 on the size of a smile) to assess the project’s impact. The first impact indicator was the “10” smile of a young healthy girl sitting in the arm’s of her mother, after benefiting from an enriched diet thanks to support from the HOPE Center. The second impact indicator was the “10” smile of this girl’s mother, Cynthia, as the names of past GlobeMed volunteers were mentioned and the enthusiastic response the names elicited across the group of women. Thus, on qualitative smile standard, the project once again received high marks.
I can imagine within a short time, the names of GlobeMed’s newest in the field volunteers will bring smiles across the faces of communities such as Ando Village as they promote health through outreach. GlobeMed was instrumental in the HOPE Center’s founding and continues to aid in the Center’s expansion of services and outreach in the surrounding areas. The facilities made possible with GlobeMed’s startup support and sustained by the Ghanaian government provide the areas an essential health resource. No matter the way one measures impact, GlobeMed’s partnership with the HOPE Center is truly a success and I look forward to hearing about all the new and exciting programs as this relationship evolves. Keep an eye out for new updates from this project at www.globalgiving.org/2071 and you can follow the students in the field experiences at www.globemedgrapevine.wordpress.com.
If you are interested in donating to GlobeMed please visit globalgiving.org/2071
Andrew and four other In-the-Field Travelers are currently in Ghana before they are making their way to Mali and Burkina Faso. They'll be visiting more than 30 GlobalGiving projects in the next month. Follow their adventures at http://itfwa.wordpress.com/.
This summer, four GlobeMed at Northwestern students are spending our summer at the H.O.P.E. Center. We are each conducting community surveys in addition to project tasks at the Center. Our work will be helpful in better identifying the health care needs of the community, how the current childhood nutrition program can be expanded, and other aspects that will strengthen the partnership between GlobeMed and the H.O.P.E. Center in the coming year.
Our first two weeks in Ghana have shown us what an exceptional place the H.O.P.E. Center really is. We have been able to work closely with the Center’s staff, all of whom are dedicated, passionate individuals who care deeply about addressing the pressing health care needs within the community. The projects such as the childhood nutrition and sexual health outreach program are continuing to run well and we are currently looking for ways to improve upon and expand them. We are deep in discussion with the Center’s head nurse, Margaret, as well as the regional health director and the community organizer about ways to increase the childhood malnutrition project to reach a larger patient population. Our meetings have discussed the possibility of tailoring the program to meet the needs of pregnant women in the community as well as expand the nutrition demonstrations to the men (who do not traditionally see the importance of healthy eating habits). We as students will be conducting individual interviews and community meetings to discover the most pressing health care issues of each of the four surrounding villages. We will try to determine if the Center’s current programs are meeting their needs and what can be improved. This summer promises to be both productive and exciting!
This summer, four GlobeMed@Northwestern members will travel to Ho, Ghana on a GROW trip to work on projects that will continue to build upon the Center’s existing programs in a sustainable fashion. Here is what the students have planned to do at the H.O.P.E. Center:
“I will be educating young mothers in the village of Kodzobi on how to prepare soybeans and introduce them into their childrens’ diets. In addition, I will be working on the education material to make it more accessible to the villagers and the mothers. As a group, we will also be conducting a general health survey in the surrounding villages to gauge a better understanding of what types of programs and projects we can implement in Ho in future years.” - REEMA GHATNEKAR
“I plan on supporting GlobeMed’s main goal of expanding the nutrition project during our six week stay in Ghana. My individual focus will be on direct patient care, comparing what we are used to in the US to the state of medical treatment in Ho. I want to also compare equipment that relates to patient care, such as instruments that monitor patient activity and those that are used for treating infection.” - JOEY GILL
“I will be establishing a demonstration farm in Kodzobi, one of the villages closest to the H.O.P.E. Center. There, H.O.P.E. Nurses will hold educational sessions for mothers about the child’s nutritional needs and the values of incorporating soybeans into the diet. They will also be taught how to farm the soybeans. Additionally, I will be implementing a survey across several of the villages near Ho, Ghana asking questions related to sexual health practices to learn if people utilize the H.O.P.E. Center as a medical clinic and what they would like to see offered.” - KATHLEEN LEINWEBER
“I will be assessing the nutritional needs of expecting mothers in the surrounding villages. I plan on interviewing approximately 30 women, who are either patrons of the Center or have never sought health care services there before. My interviews will assess the nutritional needs, knowledge, and resources available to these women as well as gain a clearer understanding of the cultural beliefs and practices surrounding pregnancy. This project will provide a link between the existing nutrition program and the advent of maternal health services to be offered at the Center in the near future.” - ALLYSON WESTLING
It's been a while since we have last posted, but things are going swimmingly at the GlobeMed at Northwestern chapter. We raised over $5000 for the clinic through campus fundraising events and individual donations for the H.O.P.E. Center, and sent $1300 to the clinic for security and utility payments for the next six months. Also at Northwestern, we are preparing the next team of students to visit and work at the clinic this summer, expanding the nutrition project and adolescent sexual health center, as well as conducting research on maternal nutrition and correlation to pregnancy and healthy childbirth.
At the clinic, the nutrition project is well underway, with three peer educators trained and working in their communities to monitor soybean crop growth as well as health of children under five. Our sexual health program has successfully trained 100 students to become peer educators and lead workshops in secondary schools across Ho town. An annual report is being compiled and will be uploaded shortly.
Thank you for all your support, and please continue to stay updated on our cause!
To the GlobeMed and Global Giving Community:
Having returned from Ho just five days ago, Lalith and I are still reeling from the eye-opening and transformative experience we had visiting our partner, the H.O.P.E. Center. In our four weeks there, we learned how the Center has become an example for health clinics in the region due to our unique model of partnership. Our preventative health programs, including the child nutrition project and a new adolescent sexual and reproductive health center, have been extremely well-received by the community, and the clinic's outpatient attendance is continuing to grow steadily.
During our trip, it became quite evident to us that Ghana is a country on the rise. Inspiration and pride from President Obama's visit in July linger on as signs with him and Atta Mills continue to line the streets, along with thousands of taxis displaying American flags on their windshields. The region is experiencing enormous growth, which has also resulted in a number of health problems. The National Health Insurance Scheme, which offers universal health care to all Ghanaians, has been facing funding shortages and has left many health centers without drugs or staff salaries for months. As areas begin to develop, proper sanitation is becoming an increasing problem as only 2% of the rural population have access to sewage systems.
This year, we will continue our work with the child nutrition, implementing Phase IV: Food Security, which trains peer educators to monitor and report soybean crop progress and child health to nurses at the H.O.P.E. Center.
We strongly urge you to give feedback on our projects and updates to keep the dialogue about our work and impact flowing. Thank you so much for your continued support to see our efforts through.
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