Advancing Leaders Fellowship Updates

World Learning’s 2015 Advancing Leaders Fellows are now hard at work on their community social innovation projects around the world. We recently caught up with them to find out more about their work so far and how their projects are progressing.

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Frank Nunez and his team reviewing feedback from stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Combating Juvenile Crime Through Local Activism

There’s no such thing as a former activist. Activism can be demanding, tiresome, or even dangerous, but since it is also the product of a dream, a vision, it has the power to drive people for years and years. Once this vision has materialized, it gives birth to even more ambitious endeavors. That’s how I could describe my situation now. Although I have participated in social projects in the past, this is my first time managing one, so I am naturally cautious, but at the same time very excited. The vision of a safer, more just community drives me to give this project my best.

Together, we want to replace the local gangsters who are forever making the headlines with local entrepreneurs. We dream and work to see growth and change happen, which feels a lot better than simply dreaming or limiting ourselves to criticizing the government for not doing enough to fight the evils affecting our society. We know it might take years or even decades, but we are ready for the challenge. Staying focused will be indispensable for the vision to come to fruition. It has to be about helping people, not about us. To ensure this, constant feedback from both stakeholders and beneficiaries will be a powerful tool.

As we progress, we acquire the experience and know-how that will allow our team to succeed at this initiative. During our many meetings, each person gets to talk about ideas that he or she has, and that can benefit the community. Even within our team, those of us who have worked on community projects before have been impregnated by a new energy. The principles that I learned in the course have become pervasive. The fellowship has turned out to be bigger than most people thought it would be.

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Omkolthoum Abdel Mogheith’s orientation session with physicians and nurses at a medical center in Fayoum, Egypt.

Local Doctors and Nurses Learning to Use Telemedicine in Fayoum, Egypt

Last October I attended the Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) training in ECHO Institute at the University of New Mexico (UNM). My team members could not attend the same training due to visa denials, but my team and I negotiated an exceptional agreement with ECHO to conduct an online training program that will take place during December 2015. We started spreading the word through advocacy campaigns for the “Reaching You” project among key governmental and public figures and we received good responses. We conducted baseline assessments in the governorates of Fayoum and Gharbeya.

We held our first orientation session at a medical center Fayoum for the first cohort of trainees, including both physicians and nurses, who were carefully selected and recruited with collaboration of local stakeholders. The training session on the ECHO Project will be held on the third week of December with eight trainees. An orientation session at a medical center in Gharbeya will take place during the third week of December.

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Michelet Guerrier meeting with schools directors in La Chapelle, Haiti, to discuss program requirements and expectations.

Training Local Teachers in La Chapelle, Haiti, in Information Communication Technology

We have now completed a number of tasks before launching the Improving Teaching with Training and ICT (ITTI) project. These tasks included developing the training modules for the pedagogical training for 20 teachers and scheduling the first workshop with the teachers from December 22-29. For this first part of the training, the participants will attend a 15-hour workshop on professional development, lesson planning, techniques for effective lesson delivery, and assessment. The teachers have also completed the baseline assessment.

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Ping Ann Oung filming interviews in Cambodia.

Creating a Documentary Film in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Media & Ethics is currently in the production stage (interview stage) for two of the five documentary films (The Whitening Problem and The Impact of Women’s Roles in Films). For the past two months, I have recruited six volunteers, including two researchers, one media specialist, two production assistants, and one cameraman. Our current Facebook page has 280 likes and through this platform and we reach an average of 2,500 people per week.

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Alexis Ramirez’s group of future hip hop dance stars!

Majestic Movers: Transforming Hip Hop

On the first day of “Majestic Movers”, I was blown away at how ready the girls were to participate and lead. The amount of potential in the room was so intense that I realized I had to change my curriculum to be more challenging. I did not plan to have the girls teach their peers on the first day! After assessing their talent, I asked for volunteers to step up and teach the group. More than half the participants raised their hands and rose to the challenge. Now my goal is to encourage the shy girls in the group to participate in ways that play on their strengths. I can’t wait to see how all the participants learn and grow!

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Charity Kabondo and her project team at the NAPHAM district office.

Training Mentor Mothers to Help Malawian Women Prevent Mother to Child Transmission of HIV

I conducted our first training program on November 21 to 23 at The National Association for People Living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi’s (NAPHAM) district office. The main objective of the training was to equip mentor mothers with counseling skills and knowledge on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). The training involved two mentor mothers from Tilimbike support groups, one nurse from the Lobi health center, NAPHAM district care taker, a facilitator from the District Health Office, and the project manager. Participants were very active and knowledgeable about the discussion topics.

The workshop was facilitated by the District PMTCT Coordinator Ruth Malenga, who has nursing and midwifery qualifications, and the project manager Charity Kabondo. The training focused on the following topics: the role of a peer mother, counseling mothers, HIV and AIDS basics, PMTCT, drug adherence, safe sex practices, sexually transmitted infections, disclosure, how to work with couples with HIV, nutrition advice for people living with HIV, family planning, record keeping, report writing, and data collection tools.

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