The following blog is composed of excerpts from a progress report written by current WDI intern Sean Morris. It describes one of the many projects he is working on and some of what he has learned thus far, working with The Ihangane Project in rural Ruli Rwanda.
Community Nutrition – an update from the field.
CNW Program progress: I have assessed the community nutrition worker (CNW) program through direct observations of their work in the field, and through surveying large samples of CNWs from various health centers in the Ruli District Health System. My partner, Huriro Uwacu Theophila, is a biostatistics student at the National University of Rwanda. We have worked to produce surveys in Kinyarwanda for both CNWs, and participants in the malnutrition program. So far, we have surveyed two of the seven Ruli Hospital CNW networks, and I plan to schedule transportation to the remaining five CNW monthly meetings as they take place in July. The information gathered in these CNW surveys includes: each individual’s satisfaction with the program; identification of resources necessary to perform their work; description of the food security situation in their villages; an assessment of the knowledge required to perform their work; and their current outreach to people living with HIV. I will use the data from these surveys, along with the observations that I record in the field to see how far the CNW program has come in implementing the Rwandan community based nutrition protocols (CBNP), and to identify gaps in their effectiveness in combating malnutrition in their communities. After gaining a full understanding of the CNW program, I will work to determine cost-effective approaches to meet their material needs, and provide them with focused training and education opportunities related to nutrition. This survey has the potential to act as an on-going worker satisfaction and knowledge tool for the CNW program. Such a tool would allow the CNW network and its administrators to continually, and accurately improve the program, monitor the success of any recommendations that we implement this summer, and foster collaborative problem solving within the CNW groups. Improving the CNW program will advance the nutritional status of the villages in the Ruli catchment area, and will lead to reduced resource constraints, funding dependencies, and operating costs at the malnutrition center.