Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Plan A should always come with a Plan B

Well, our August training proposal got shot down due to "lack of funds." For the neighboring county, Sinoe County, we had planned to hold a training for seven clinics in two central locations in order to minimize our time in the field. Unfortunately this meant we had to budget for food (because the training would be a day long) and transportation (because people would need to travel far) for all attendees. The WFP Monrovia office did not like this idea. This drives me crazy. How can you run a huge program that delivers tons and tons (literally) of food to clinics that have never distributed food before and not even train them on what to do and how to do it? No wonder food goes unaccounted for, reports are not filled out properly or on time, and people who should be getting the food aren't. Some of these clinics do not even have the materials needed to determine if someone is malnourished or to measure the right amount of food per person per day. They (those who didn't like our plan) suggest that we combine our monitoring visits with on- the-spot trainings (the kill two birds with one stone approach). So the clinics get the food, start handing it out, and then when we go to monitor how they are doing we tell them what they should have been doing all along? Oh, ok. I hope I am missing something here, cause right now it doesn't make sense to me.
Ok, enough wasting more time over how Plan A didn't work. Time for Plan B. My new proposal suggests that for the rest of August we will only focus on the three clinics in Grand Gedeh County (the county we are located in and the easiest to access). We can make it to each of the clinics and back in one day. Sinoe County (way in the bush) will need to wait for September. We have suggested that rather than having two central locations, we will visit each clinic (eliminating the need for attendee transport money) for a half day session (eliminating the need for attendee meal money). This plan requires us to be in the field for a full week though, so problem is not yet completely solved. I'll wait for feedback. I feel pretty confident about the Grand Gedeh plan but am not sure about Sinoe. I have my fingers crossed. And you should too.
Next week I will be going to Saclapea, a town about 5 hours west of here, to attend a nutrition training being held by the Ministry of Health. I heard about this training when I first arrived a few weeks ago but it took several follow-up emails and phone calls to the MOH and WFP offices in Monrovia to nail down the specifics. Good thing I checked this week or it would've gone on without me. I am hoping to bring back enough information to conduct a similar training with the community health volunteers in Zwedru. If the community health volunteers in the villages are able to diagnose a malnourished child or mother and appropriately refer them to the clinics, more people will be able to benefit from WFP initiatives. Yes! People in need benefiting from aid. Amazing.

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