Oct 13, 2019

Saturday Mornings are for Play in a Safe Environment

Playing a Zambian game
Playing a Zambian game

Community Outreach Program

“Safe Park” is Power of Love’s community outreach program and is free and open to all children in the community of Matero, in Lusaka, Zambia. Program activities are held on Saturday mornings and any child from the community can join us in play and learning. Most children in this community are vulnerable and/or orphans; they live with extended families, grandmothers or older siblings and face hunger, disease, abuse, and neglect. They do not have a safe space to play, or an opportunity to express their concerns to a trained health care aide.

A Typical “Safe Park” Morning

A typical Saturday morning starts with the children gathering around in a circle and participating in games with the other children and staff members. Some of these games are described below. After games, the children are divided into groups according to their ages. The younger children engage in drawing, coloring, playing with blocks, toys, and dolls, while the older children attend short workshops on HIV, STI’s and safe sex. Most workshops are led by older children who have graduated from Power of Love’s pediatric HIV care program or children who want to share their experiences with peers/younger children. Some children bring their reports cards from school to share their progress with our team. Homework help is also provided. At the conclusion of these group activities/workshops, the children are provided with a snack before they leave for home. Family members of the children are welcome to join in the games and activities.

During the morning’s activities, our health care team observes the children for any signs of trauma, stress, grief or abuse and provides counseling to the child and family members.

Zambian Games Played

There are several Zambian games that the children play and enjoy. In addition to having fun while being physically active, most games teach children to run away danger, how to keep themselves safe from danger, report any potential danger to a trusted family member, and follow instructions at home an at school. A brief description of the games is given below.

Mulilo pa lupili (fire on the mountain): Everyone is given a number from 1-5 and they gather in a circle. One person stands in the middle of the circle and says, ‘mulilo pa lupili’ (fire on the mountain). The rest of the group answers ‘mulilo’ meaning ‘fire.’ The children disperse in a chaotic fashion and try to locate others with the same number. Anyone found without a group is out of the game.

Gogo na gogo (meaning assisting or helping one another in time of trouble or need): Children sit down in a circle and pass a stone rapidly to the next person while singing, “gogo na gogo”. The purpose of this game is to teach children to be alert and help one another.

Chizugulu, Chizugulu Tiye (going around): The song, ‘chizugulu, chizugulu tiye”, is sung while everyone is in a circle holding hands. Holding hands and singing they start going clockwise or anti-clockwise. While going clockwise or anti-clockwise, the children kneel and stand up alternately. The game requires concentration, reduces stress and is fun. It fosters friendships with peers.

I Pick the Ball: All participants are in a circle and one is in the middle singing “I pick the ball, I pick the ball, I put it here, pepeta, pepeta.’’ Pepeta means, “to shake the body” while kicking the ball. While singing, the person gives instructions (shake the body, dance, etc.) using the ball and everyone has to follow these instructions. When the person inside the circle is done, he/she points at someone else who then comes to the middle, sings and gives instructions. This is repeated until everyone has been in the center of the circle at least once.

Children from the community participate in these games enthusiastically and come back each week as they enjoy interacting with others.

Thank you for giving the gift of play and learning to orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia.

A workshop in progress
A workshop in progress
Hanging out
Hanging out
Leading a popular Zambian game
Leading a popular Zambian game

Links:

Oct 6, 2019

Findings of A Study to Assess the Effectiveness of Our Malaria Prevention Efforts

Nets and Education provision in Kafue, Zambia
Nets and Education provision in Kafue, Zambia

In 2019, generous donors such as yourself helped raise over $30,000 for Power of Love's malaria prevention program. These funds are being used to provide education and 11,500 long lasting insecticide treated nets to vulnerable populations in Zambia.

To assess the effectiveness of our malaria prevention effortrs, we conduct follow-up studies after every distribution. The results of a study conducted last month are discussed below. 

Malaria Prevention Efforts to date in 2019

In May and June 2019, program activities included the provision of education and 5000 long lasting insecticide treated nets to vulnerable populations. Beneficiary communities were chosen based on the high transmission rates of malaria. Beneficiaries included HIV+ children, people infected with Tuberculosis, children under five years of age, older people, pregnant women, chronically ill patients, and children with disabilities as these populations are most vulnerable to malaria. For young children living with HIV, and HIV+ pregnant women malaria could be fatal.

Our goals with the provision of education and malaria bed nets was as follows:

  • Reduce the number of malaria cases and deaths in the community.
  • Improve the health of children
  • Improve school attendance and school performance.
  • Reduce clinic visits and increase productive working hours.
  • Educate beneficiaries on prevention of malaria, proper use, storage, and re-treatment of nets.

Study design and Findings

Information from beneficiaries was gathered via questionnaires and focus group discussions. A total of 1500 questionnaires were handed out and collected after a few days. Based on results from 1465 completed questionnaires, and focus group discussions we learnt that:

  • 97% of beneficiaries have knowledge regarding the proper use and storage of nets. 42 beneficiaries did not have information about the re-treatment of nets. Based on this feedback, information regarding re-treatment will be provided to these homes.
  • On average, more than 2 people used one mosquito net.
  • The nets were clean and in good condition.
  • No beneficiary suffered from malaria.
  • All beneficiaries requested that more mosquito nets be provided next time as some members of the household did not receive nets.

These findings confirm WHO's (World Health Organization) results that sleeping under a good quality mosquito bed net is one of the cheapest and most effective methods of malaria prevention.

A few pennies can save lives. A mosquito bed net can sleep up to four young children or two adults and lasts up to two years. This implies that a single net costing less than $5, can keep 3-4 children malaria free, healthy and in school. Since malaria can be fatal for young children, children living with HIV, and HIV+ pregnant women, it costs just a few pennies to save lives.

Also, WHO recommends that mosquito bed nets should be available to everyone and free of cost to eradicate malaria.  

Our Goal is for Zambia to be Malaria Free

Over the last 11 years we have been able to provide over 25,000 long lasting insecticide treated nets and education to people vulnerable to malaria in Zambia. For 2019, our goal is to provide an additional 6,500 nets to bring the total to 11,500 bed nets; this should bring us closer to our goal of eradicating malaria from Zambia.

Thanks for keeping thousands of children and families malaria free.

Children and families with new nets
Children and families with new nets
Home of Happiness for disabled children
Home of Happiness for disabled children

Links:

Oct 6, 2019

Business Training Goes A Long Way in Growing Successful Entrepreneurs

Business training in progress
Business training in progress

Knowledge of business skills is critical to business success

We believe that knowledge of basic business skills is critical for running a successful business. As part of program activities related to our micro loans program, business training is provided to women impacted/infected by HIV and AIDS. In 2019, 309 women have been provided with business training with 100 new women being trained last month. The newly minted graduates are now equipped with business skills and ready to run more successful businesses. In addition, skills acquired during business training are permanent and can be used in diverse ways (even if the business fails) to improve one’s quality of life. For example, most women learn to save a small amount each week and become comfortable with mobile banking.

About Business training

Goals of this training are to empower women by teaching them how to (i) run a business, (ii) overcome challenges, (iii) work as a team, (iv) run a profitable business, (v) become responsible borrowers, and (vi) develop relationships of mutual support with other women.

Training is participative, hands on, and in the local language as most women have never been to school and many do not know how to read or write. In addition, most women are single and care for multiple children with few resources. Trainees get an opportunity to discuss business issues and external challenges with mentors in the same line of business. All modules are supplemented with hands on exercises, work sheets, real world examples, and group discussions. Social issues, possible challenges and how economic independence can lead to empowerment are also discussed. 

Business Training Curriculum

The modules of business training are as follows: 

Introduction: this helps the women understand simple business concepts as these are new to most women. Questions asked are:

  • What is business? 
  • How to start or expand your own business?
  • How to raise money for your business?
  • How to make profit in your own business?
  • How to protect your business?

Market investigation: The trainees are asked to brainstorm and come up with ideas on the kind of business they would like to start/expand, who their customers will be, location of their business, and the process of selling. They answer questions such as:

  • What am I going to sell?
  • Who will buy from me?
  • What will be the location of my business?
  • How am I going to sell my goods or services? Door to door, shop in a marketplace, or a stand outside my home?

Business concepts: Quality, pricing, sourcing of materials, quantity and frequency of purchases of raw materials/inventory are discussed. Concepts such as sales, profits, price, managing money, and repayment schedules are discussed.

Costing and pricing: Cost of materials, competition, and pricing of final product are discussed. In addition, trainees are asked to think about filling a need in the marketplace and developing unique products by using their individual talents and competencies.

Selling: The concept of selling above cost and profit is introduced. In addition, ideas on how to attract and retain customers are discussed.

Money management: This module discusses the importance of bookkeeping and accounting. The women are encouraged to keep a Money Management sheet/book for their business finances. Guidance is provided on how to separate funds for capital, loan repayment, hire purchase expenses (if any), savings, and family expenses. This helps track their asset and capital growth.

Business promotion: This module covers: 

  • Learning about your product
  • Advertising your business
  • Store display and design
  • Learning about customer needs
  • Customer service
  • Ethical business practices
  • Reasons for a business to not do well

Savings and banking: The women are encouraged to save a small amount each week. Information is provided on mobile/commercial/village savings bank.

Internship (pilot stages): This module may require trainees to shadow a successful business owner for a 3-4 days, so that they are exposed to the operations of a business before they launch their own. 

Creation of a simple business plan: By the end of the fourth day of training the women are able to build a simple business plan that includes: location of business, where they will purchase raw materials/inventory, how they are going to set up their store, proposed mark-ups, a list of equipment (if needed), estimated fixed and variable costs, funds required to start/expand business, a profile of their customers, and how to attract/retain customers, and their goals for the next 1-2 years.

Empowerment: Social issues such as running the business when a family member is sick, are discussed followed by a Q and A.

Challenges: This module addresses challenges such as a disease outbreak, that could have severe consequences on earnings resulting in a loss of capital and savings. Participants discuss viable solutions to prevent losses.

Impact

Upon completion of business training, the women are better equipped to run businesses. Earnings from these businesses help pay for necessities and school expenses. In the short run, there is an improvement in diet and health, better information about HIV, more children can attend school and improved financial literacy. In the long run, there is a reduction in poverty, reduced stigma about HIV, women are empowered, and an improvement in gender equity.

Thanks for giving vulnerable women impacted by HIV, an opportunity to learn business skills.

Practicing money management on works sheets
Practicing money management on works sheets
Sample chart
Sample chart

Links:

 
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