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Super Busy Fun Summer! Community Health Evaluation Edition

The first in a 2 part series of post-Summer Serve and Learn reflection blogs. This time we reflect on this year’s Community Health Evaluation sessions.

CHE1 volunteers left to right: Julius, Lexy, Connor (back), Catie (back), Shannon (front) and Matt.

What a crazy summer it’s been here at GHEI! The office has just re-opened after the Summer Serve and Learn volunteer sessions and we’re back to ‘business as usual’ in the office.

Reflecting back on this year’s volunteer sessions, it was a full-on, get stuck in, hectic, busy and entertaining 2 months! The sessions started with Community Health Evaluation 1 (CHE1), the team consisted of 6 international volunteers, Catie, Julius, Lexy, Connor, Shannon and Matt.

CHE1 was 2 weeks of interviewing the local community as part of our annual survey we carry out. The team of volunteers worked alongside our team of local interviewers to assist with data collection, coding surveys, input into a database and double check everything for errors. It’s time consuming work but the volunteer team did great in working together to get the job done!

Volunteers and staff leading a quiz during Movie Night.

Team CHE1 also had the opportunity to help out with one of GHEI’s Movie Nights for the local children. The film was ‘Finding Nemo’ and the volunteers loved getting involved with asking the quiz questions and handing out prizes!

After we said good-bye to the first group of volunteers, we had a few days in between then Community Health Evaluation session 2 started! The second session was in partnership with Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah.

The CHE2 volunteer team consisted of 8 international volunteers; Julius and Catie from the first session, Mary, Paschaline, Ashleigh, Elise and BYU students Hannah and Anastasia. We also had the pleasure of having Randy Page from BYU, Professor and Director of the University’s Global Health Internship Programme, join us for a few days of the session.

CHE2 volunteers left to right: back- Elise, Hannah, Julius, Catie, Anastasia; front- Paschaline, Ashleigh and Mary.

Team CHE2 were also working on the annual surveys, with the difference that their session was 3 weeks long instead of 2 and included guided academic discussions on global health. The group worked very hard, but they also played hard too! The group really got to know each other and enjoyed socializing after work.

We especially appreciated their dedication to finishing coding and cleaning the data right at the end of the session. It was their last day in Humjibre and they had a long day of travel ahead of them the next day, and yet, even in the middle of farewell drinks and a celebration ceremony for the interviewer team, they still managed to work around the clock to get their work done!

The surveys themselves are crucial to the work and success of GHEI, they measure the effectiveness of our year-round programmes and inform us of how better we can serve the communities of Humjibre, Soroano and Kojina. This year we had a new component to the annual survey, thanks to our partnership with UCLA ‘s Center for World Health, and Dr. Frances Glascoe, the co-author of the PEDS:DM AL (Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status: Developmental Milestones- Assessment Level). This year the new survey measured a child’s development up until 3 years old and the results will directly inform the next phases of our new Mother Mentor Programme.

Julius (left) with Mensah, our Health Programme Administrator.

Julius, our all-star UCLA medical student volunteer was instrumental in assisting with culturally adapting the PEDS:DM AL survey-alongside the GHEI team-and with training the local interviewing staff and international volunteers about it.

We thank all of the Community Health Evaluation volunteers for their service this summer! Although volunteers only come to Humjibre on a short-term basis, we want them to know that their work is valued and the time that they give to us is so appreciated! Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do the work we do, from their enthusiasm and dedication we are able to better serve and empower our communities.

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