Weekly Awesome Ghana: SWAT Regional Representative Training

From August 7-8, 2012, Ghana’s SWAT’m (Standing With Africa to Terminate Malaria) Team gathered in Kumasi for their SWAT Regional Rep Training. The training was a 2-day intensive workshop highlighting new materials and resources learned at the Stomp Out Malaria Boot Camp IV. After attending the boot camp in June, PCV Hannah Braun and I hit the ground running once we returned to Ghana. One of our first priorities was to spread the wealth of knowledge we gained at the boot camp to our 10 regional representatives’ so that in turn, they could teach the PCVs in their region what’s happening in the malaria world. PCVs Sean Blaufuss and Zoe Suggs joined Hannah and me as trainers and together, we took the training head on.

Hannah Braun presenting the world of malaria vaccines to the Ghana SWAT Malaria team’s regional representatives in Kumasi, Ghana.

As the regional representatives arrived the evening before the training, we asked them to fill out the SWAT Regional Rep Survey. The survey was designed to gauge the representative’s knowledge on malaria. We did a follow up session during the training to discuss each question. We emailed the same survey two weeks later to determine whether the information was retained.

At 8am, I kicked off the morning with two sessions: ‘Opening’ and ‘Constitution Review’. Zoe Suggs then took over with a session titled ‘Intro to Stomp’, and I finished the morning off with ‘Part 1: Project Framework’. ‘Part 1: Project Framework’ discussed the 5 steps of a project, how to find and utilize behavioral determinants, formative research and barrier analysis. The afternoon started with a great session on ‘Facilitation Skills: Learning & Applying’ by Hannah Braun with the PCVs role playing facilitation skills. After that, Hannah also led the group through Ghana’s ‘AP Study and Vaccine Trials’. This session was one of our most technical, but it gave PCVs an idea of what’s happening with malaria work in the world. The vaccine trials were about  PCVs in Ghana who have been participating in an Anemia and Parasite Study to determine the effects of IRS (Indoor Residual Spray) in the northern region.

Zoe Sugg leading a discussion on fundraising and the budget
for SWAT Malaria. Scrappiness helps the team do projects all over the country with limited resources.

The first day wrapped up with a ‘Tree-side Chat’ to brainstorm fundraising, ways to motivate PCVs and potential projects. Given that it was the last session in long day of training, we implemented a Chinese Fire Drill during the session. Every time a bell went off, everyone had to jump up and switch seats, and whoever was the last to sit down had to pick an act out of the hat. Some of the highlights included role playing an elephant, giving each person a hug for 5 seconds (AWKWARD!), singing the Ghanaian National Anthem, and dancing the ‘azuntu’.

Day two started with the sessions ‘Recap from Thursday’, ‘Roles & Responsibilities’, ‘Social Media Platforms’, and ‘Part 2: Monitoring & Evaluation’ in the morning. The M&E session was extremely important since our malaria team believes ‘If it’s not on paper, it didn’t happen’. PCVs learned how to properly monitor and evaluate a project, write success stories, and effectively do a case study.

After a delicious lunch filled with fufu, fried rice and banku, the training moved on to ‘New Interventions across Africa’, and ‘Clarification of Regional Rep Survey’. Our second ‘Tree-side Chat’ featured a group discussion on World Malaria Day. We discussed what worked and didn’t work this past year and expectations for next year. SWAT will be forming a committee this month to organize and implement World Malaria Day activities, so watch out other Stomp countries! Our last session, ‘Way Forward and Next Steps’, put everything we discussed into perspective for the SWAT’m Team.

Everyone left the training excited to motivate other PCVs and be that squeaky wheel in their region. Now, we all have the necessary tools, education, and information to support malaria-related projects in our communities and other PCVs communities. Volta region’s representative Nathan Wilkinson commented after the training ‘Thanks for putting together such an informative and inspiring training. And just being awesome, in general. I had a great time seeing you all and can’t wait to start working on my next malaria project.”

[quote style=”1″] [I] can’t wait to start working on my next malaria project.
– PCV Nathan Wilkinson[/quote]

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