It is humbling and inspiring to hear from those we serve that our work has compelled them to take a new perspective and recommended behavior back to their communities. It is even better when they explain to us the cultural norms and challenges faced, in this case regarding family planning, so that we may work with them towards the better health and happiness of their community in a way that is culturally aware and respectful. Read how GSC’s Community Health Workshops are affecting Tanzanian workshop participants below…
It is amazing that this was our first Community Health Worker training and we felt success for the fact that 80% of the invited participants showed up from the 3 villages. This training was conducted in the Monduli District. People invited appreciated our training and even promised us that they would implement what they learned from the training. The training mainly focused on HIV/AIDS awareness and nutrition, but included food drying as well as family planning.
[One participant] reflected the views of several who attended, “I am so happy with this training because what I have learned touches my real life especially my family’s health. It could be difficult even for me to come to this training if I was told we would be talking about family planning, although this is one of the problems that my community experiences. I am ready to spread this knowledge to others. My request is please may your organization try to spread this knowledge to more Maasai areas. The situation about family planning is really bad. Some people have seen my wife who is healthy and ‘traditionally built’ and think it is because of family planning which is not true at all; this is due to good nutrition only. This is because in our area people have a bad perception on family planning. I am ready to go and tell my peer group about family planning.”
He continued, “I have a shop and will be able to distribute condoms at my shop. I can do this in secret so that people will not be afraid to come and get from me. I am married to two wives, but I tell my colleagues that we are going to have no more than five kids only. We have to change and try to have small families, and not having so many like our fathers did, who had up to one hundred kids. By having smaller families it is easier even to maintain food security in our families, villages and even at the national level. With a smaller number of kids we still will have manpower to produce, and not rely so much on women as the main agriculture producers.”
Tanzania HIV/AIDS Community Health Impact Story prepared by Euphrasia F., GSC-Tanzania HIV/AIDS and Nutrition Program Coordinator, 2011