October 14, 2008
Thank you so much for e-mailing me. I have now been in Freetown for over a month, and am fully integrated into my job at Africare. Although I work in the Freetown office, I have been "upcountry" (outside of Freetown) to see our project sites twice since I arrived. As the Public Health Intern, I'm working on several projects involving HIV/AIDS education, school feeding, and hygiene and sanitation.
Africare recently finished a two-year program with UNICEF to provide School Sanitation and Hygiene Education in rural Sierra Leone. I have met with the people conducted this training, and compiled an evaluation of the program to include in our report to UNICEF. We are also in the midst of implementing a Global Fund Round 6 project for HIV/AIDS education in Kailahun District. We have conducted sensitizations of community leaders so that they are able to educate their neighbors about HIV/AIDS. This education is very much needed, as many of the rural villagers I spoke with had limited knowledge of AIDS. Many believed that it could be spread by sneezing or coughing. Continuing our HIV-work, we are submitting a proposal to the German Development Bank to conduct a campaign promoting anti-retroviral drugs and women's health empowerment.
Finally, I am helping to design a concept paper for an urban school feeding program, to be undertaken in tandem with the World Food Programme. This program will provide hot meals in primary schools in Freetown, as well as include education on HIV/AIDS and sanitation.
I'm very busy on these projects, and am very pleased to have this opportunity to help make real change here in Sierra Leone.
Thank you, and cheers,