This is a challenging position for a highly experienced nutritionist or a nurse in Shianda village, Western Kenya, who is going to mostly work with 26 womens groups to focus on malnutrition trainings and HIV/AIDS prevention. The volunteer is required to have an experience and strong skills on malnutrition and HIV/AIDS in the settings of a developing country, as the volunteer will work independently and first assess the overall situation, plan for the activities, conduct them and thereafter train the Junior nurse/nutritionist volunteer in the last month of the deployment while handing over the tasks.
The EU Aid Volunteer is going to work in the community groups, schools and churches as a trainer on malnutrition and HIV/AIDS in order to raise the awareness of the community members on the importance of nutrition and HIV/AIDS education in Kenya. Currently, there is some misinformation and lack of awareness regarding HIV/AIDS, which directly and indirectly influences the lives of HIV/AIDS infected and affected people. However, the community members, especially illiterate community members, lack access to proper information regarding HIV/AIDS prevention and other related issues. Figures of people living with HIV/AIDS in Shianda village continue to rise, with a lack of participation in trainings and teachings intended to enable people to maintain a healthy life. Stigmatisation, including self-stigmatisation, is a dangerous thing in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This can lead to people also avoiding food supplements that would boost their system hence good nutrition.
The EU Aid Volunteer will also work with support groups of HIV/AIDS positive people to raise awareness of the community members on importance of HIV/AIDS education in Kenya and to follow up and advise the HIV/AIDS affected and infected people. The EU Aid Volunteer will carry out trainings in 8 locations in the village with the assistance of women group leaders.
The expected results and objectives are to raise the overall general awareness on the malnutrition issues and malnutrition related cases, to support the people affected by HIV/AIDS regarding the nutrition issues to improve their life quality and life expectance for them to continue with both social, economic and environmental wellbeing and to ensure building resilience in the Shianda community regarding the HIV/AIDS effects and nutrition-related issues and diseases to prevent the food security and disease outbreak related humanitarian crises in the future.
In Wefoco, there is one part-time employee – a director – and one person employed to provide the computer services at the office, all others are local volunteers, including the 2 women who have worked for several years as the school link activities coordinators. This is an interesting position in a grassroot organisation in rural Africa with various and diverse opportunities to independently plan and conduct the health activities in rural settings.
The EU Aid Volunteer will stay in the village, where living conditions are basic and privacy can be limited as people are interested in the activities, in addition the choice of food is limited. There will be several other long-term volunteers staying for the same period.
Western Focus Community Organisation (Wefoco) is a community based organization (CBO) in Shianda in Western Kenya that was started in 2004 as a self-help group and later registered as a community based organization in 2009. Wefoco consists mostly of 26 women’s groups in several areas and is focused on orphans, families suffering because on HIV/AIDS and generating incomes of those in need. Additionally, Wefoco has initiated also a cooperative in order to support the community people in joint agriculture, currently cooperative has over 300 members who grow maize, vegetables, chicken, fish etc.
Wefoco's mission is to develop sustainable community based initiative that promotes welfare of community people and Wefoco's vision is through its activities directly or indirectly reach to every vulnerable child in the community.
Our approach consist of following fields: education, HIV and AIDS campaign awareness, Income generating activities, Capacity building activities, Gender inequality.
Education: 25% of primary school aged and 75% of secondary school aged children in Shianda can’t afford education. We work to ensure that all children in Shianda village join school. This helps them stay out of child labour, as well as building a promising future for themselves.
HIV and AIDS campaign awareness: Compared to other areas in Kenya, high number of people is infected with HIV and AIDS. Our aim is through awareness raising and counselling to reduce the rate of infections provide care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Income generating activities: Most people are poor due to unemployment, low job opportunities, ignorance and lack of education. We work to give people necessary knowledge and opportunities to enlarge their incomes.
Capacity building activities: Large parts of the population in Shianda, especially people who are living in deeply rural areas, lack access to education and information. We work to strengthen the skills, competencies and abilities of people so they can overcome the causes of their exclusion and suffering.
Gender inequality: Women are not treated equally to men and they can be discriminated against in society. We work to give women necessary counselling, to give them a voice and encourage them to be independent and stand up for their rights.
Operational details & security context
The EU Aid Volunteer will work in Mumias East subcounty, in 3 wards and 8 locations, which are in the village, consisting of Wefoco group members, as it will be indicated in the work plan made on arrival of the EU Aid Volunteer. The EU Aid Volunteer will be working 5 days per week and will have 2 holiday days per month. The mode of transportation that the EU Aid Volunteer will use in the village is motorbikes or walking short distances. Motorbikes are ideal mode of transports especially in the interior village however care must be taken where the routes are not well maintained. Shianda area experiences heavy rain from March to June and also from September to October. During this period, volunteers are advised always to ask for safe routes since some of the roads becomes almost impassable when it rains heavily. They are also advised to finish their activities early in the afternoon since most afternoons programmes are hindered by onset of rain. By the help of group leaders, the volunteers will be able to organise meetings for them with members.
The EU Aid Volunteer will be oriented on aspects of security, though in Shianda generally the security status has always been favourable and not hostile. This is not to say that we don’t have unfortunate cases but however volunteers should always be aware of such incident and have office contacts for efficient communication in case of any. Volunteers are also advised to have knowhow of the current laws, by-laws, rights and privileges to avoid issues with the local authority.
Shianda is situated in equatorial tropical climate, region which is prone to tropical diseases such as Malarial and typhoid. For this case, volunteers are advised to seek for anti-malaria medication, vaccination and other related conditions according to their health history. Wefoco has security management plan which will be availed to volunteer to read and understand it on arrival.
School link teachers will organise school talks by the EU Aid Volunteer on nutrition.