March 2013 Report: Workshops in Maumu, Identification in Muea
By Antonia Morzenti - Project Coordinator
First Official Workshop in Maumu Village
Teen Mother Empowerment Monthly Project Report: March 2013
Arriving on the 10th of March, the new Program Coordinator, Antonia Morzenti from United States was briefed on the previous activities of the TME program which has been underway in Buea since 2009. Antonia was given the assignment of working with Cameroonian social worker, Mr. Nzue Maxentius. Together the two of them, on behalf of SDI, have a target of 5 villages and 100 teens to empower through a series of workshops. At the debut, nineteen teens were already identified in the village of Maumu and we moved from on from there.
Begin workshops in Maumu
Complete identification in Upper and Lower Muea
Begin Identification in Bolifamba and Dibanda
Continue fundraising efforts
Major Activities Carried Out in Chronological Order:
To reintroduce the program into the community, Suliman (SDI founder), Max and Antonia went around Buea to relevant ministries and delegations. Those personally contacted include: The Region Delegation of Family Affairs and Women’s Empowerment, The Ministry of Social Work, and Buea Mutual Health.
The Region Delegation of Family Affairs and Women’s Empowerment will send a delegate to open up new workshops series when possible.
Buea Mutual Health has agreed to introduce Mutual Health care coverage at the first workshop in a new series for all villages in the future.
Set a date for Antonia’s introduction into Maumu Village.
On that date, we stayed four hours in Maumu. The first two hours were spent walking around the village, learning the area and attempting to ‘round up’ the identified teens and others who are interested. The other two hours were spent: waiting for participants. introducing the program, and choosing an official schedule for the workshops series. The girls chose: Thursdays from 4-6pm every week. The total number of participants reached six.
The first official Maumu workshop was held on March 21st. A Delegate from Women’s Empowerment opened with a prayer and words of encouragement. Mr. Bate of Mutual Health followed with an enthusiastic speech about health in general and the benefits of this coverage. We then chose themes for the workshops series and wrapped things up but taking photos for the health care cards. Total number of participants reached nine but only five were eligible for the program.
Set date for Upper and Lower Muea Identification workshop and began to advertise at the ~25 churches in Muea and on two local radio stations.
Met with Maumu chief to discuss low turn out and disinterest at the two previous workshops in hopes of mobilizing him to find people sensitize his community for a better turn out the following week.
The manager of Buea Mutual Health aided in finding local community members from Muea to sensitize the community on the program and inform eligible teens girls about the benefits.
Second official workshop March 28th. We waited for 45min and no one showed up. Max and Antonia made an official decision to withdraw our efforts from Maumu because of the lack of interest.
Jumping into the middle of a project where identification has already taken place.
Working in a village as an “outsider”. A new face is not easily trusted.
General lack of interest and motivation from teens and the community as a whole.
Keeping time, not African time.
Changes in Program:
SDI and the Teen Mother Empowerment program will only be working in villages were there is serious interest and motivation. If the girls do not want to be there [at the workshop] we do not want them to be there. Serious and motivated participants only.
Antonia and Max will be working closely with local village members who have genuine interest in the successfulness of the program leading to the betterment of the girls and the community as a whole.
Unattained Goals and Reasoning:
Identification in Muea was extended so we would be working with a high number of participants.
Bolifamba and Dibanda were put on hold so that the TME team can realize the most optimal and beneficial way to enter communities with this program. We must seek support at the local level before entering so that we are not viewed as complete “outsiders”.
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