United to Stomp Out Malaria in Kenya

In August 2012, members of Odiado Tumaini Orphan and Vulnerable Children Association met to discuss the burden that malaria has on families and the wider community in Samia District in Kenya. Malaria is endemic in Western Province and transmission there is intense- in October alone there were 1,941 reported cases of malaria in children under 5 years of age in Samia District (DHIS2, 2012). Children under 5 years are at the greatest risk of severe complications, including death, from malaria.

One of the strategic objectives of the National Malaria Strategy is to have at least 80 percent of people living in malaria risk areas using appropriate malaria preventive interventions by 2013 through universal long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) coverage for populations at risk.

At the end of the session, LLINs were distributed to all OVC members in the sub-location of Odiado. Caught up in the excitement of the day, group members spontaneously held hands and lifted their arms high in a show of commitment to working towards a malaria-free Kenya.

Peace Corps Volunteer Sarah Kaufmann is currently working with the association to develop a strategy to combat malaria in their community. Fieldworkers will visit their homes in the next few months to ensure nets are being properly used and to assist households in hanging them if necessary. The association continues to work together distributing nets in Odiado and fighting for a malaria free community.

Hammock from Ngora

Income Generation Through Mosquito Net Hammocks

Aigi Mary-Immaculate and Obote Denis showing off the hand-sewn bags that each hammock comes with.

Finding employment is difficult for youth in Ngora parish, located in eastern Uganda. Many haven’t completed their schooling and do not have the financial means to do so. The Ngora Parish Harmack Company is a community based organization founded in February 2011 by PCV Matthew Boddie and his counterpart Denis Obote. The goal of the organization is to help students continue their education by providing life skills training and assisting with school fees. Among these trainings, the NPHC teaches business skills and the fundamentals of microfinance to local youth.

Boddie is currently working with NPHC on a project that teaches youth to produce various types of hammocks, including some with built-in mosquito nets, to sell to local Ugandans, tourists, and companies. In addition to learning invaluable technical skills, the youth also manage the company’s profits. Selling the hammocks to local clinics that face bed shortages, the project both addresses healthcare needs and creates a sustainable income-generating project.

The NPHC decided on the “Off the Ground, Under a Net”  initiative after realizing the number of children who sleep on the floor, without a mosquito net. It is their mission in Ngora to provide every youth, especially those under the ages of 5, with a bed and a net to sleep under. The organization is able to help these children by using left over material to make additional mosquito-net sewn hammocks and selling them at a reduced price.

To date, about 63% of the hammocks sales come from companies and tourists, and 37%  from locals. The NPHC is trying to market more to locals through sensitization campaigns about the foreign type of bed and malaria prevention.

NPHC staff work through the night to complete a large order for a Ugandan resort. Several companies within Uganda buy NPHC hammocks for re-selling.

Currently, the organization is run completely by the youth who were trained in its first year. The project has now received funding from the U.S. Embassy Small Grants Office  to scale up their project.  The grant will be enough to create a two-room building complete with sewing machines, computers, and solar power.  Once complete, the NPHC will start to teach the skills they have learned to other at-risk youth within the area.

To date, the NPHC has sold 473 hammocks. 7 kids have been sent off to a full years’ education, one of whom was able to purchase a laptop for his college education.  Once the scaling up is complete, NPHC is hoping to increase their production 5-fold.  Stay tuned, because the NPHC also hopes to start selling globally soon!

Stomp Mozambique Team Shares Knowledge with New Health Volunteers

During the recent Reconnect In-Service Training, the 18th group of volunteers to serve in Mozambique (colloquially called “Moz 18”) participated in an invaluable training that enables them to stomp out malaria in Mozambique. 3rd year Volunteers and Stomp Coordinators Kyla Johnson and Scooter “Anata” Walsh presented sessions about malaria in pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and malaria co-infection, and creating community radio spots.

During the overview of malaria in pregnancy and HIV/AIDS and malaria co-infection sessions, the 26 community health Volunteers revisited topics that were briefly presented during Pre-Service Training.  The volunteers discussed how these topics related to their work in their respective communities.  Volunteers reviewed the pillars to malaria prevention and treatment in Mozambique, and discussed possible project ideas that would be useful to implement at the community level.

Mozambique Stomp Coordinator Kyla Johnson helps Ilidio Matusse, Program Assistant for Peace Corps Mozambique use Audacity to create a radio spot

Mozambique Stomp Coordinators presented on the use of radio is getting the malaria message out. Participants received a basic how-to guide to using Audacity, an open-source audio editing software, to create radio spots.  They demonstrated their creativity and practiced their new skills by dividing into groups and creating malaria-related 30 second spots. Peace Corps staff also got involved, creating their own versions of malaria prevention ads.  The participants enjoyed creating and sharing their radio spots.  Staff and volunteers left the session enthusiastic about malaria prevention work and with knowledge and skills to integrate malaria prevention into community radio.

Overall, the training was a success. The new Volunteers left with greater understanding of malaria as a disease and the eminent threat it poses in Mozambique. Volunteers also walked away with invaluable tools and ideas to combat malaria in their respective communities.

Linguere Universal Coverage Campaign

Sarah Legare, Environmental Education / Health PCV

Since May, regional health staff, community members, NGO partners, and PCVs have been working together to stomp out malaria as part of Senegal’s Universal Coverage (UC) campaign in Senegal’s Louga region. The past several months have been packed with trainings, bed net distributions, media and awareness events all over the region, and I’ve gotten involved in this work in the Linguere health district, part of the Louga region and about 300 km northeast of Dakar, where I’m serving as an Environmental Education Volunteer.

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Universal Coverage in Linguere, Senegal

Health volunteer Mame Abdou Coundoul sets up a mosquito net demonstration during universal coverage distribution in the village of Loumby.

UC is part of the President’s Malaria Initiative; its goal is to provide a free long-lasting insecticide treated net (LLIN) for every sleeping space in the country, and to have those nets used every night by every person all year long. 2008 marked the first year of UC in Senegal, and 2013 is set to be the last; the Louga Region hosted the campaign this year. In preparation for the start of the campaign, Senegal’s Dakar-based team of PCVs whose work is dedicated to the country’s malaria program came to visit Linguere to help organize Volunteers’ district-wide strategy for coordinating with upcoming events. We developed a plan to work with area health administrators and other UC partners throughout the course of the campaign. Linguere Volunteers also applied for a grant through USAID’s Small Projects Assistance program. The grant would be designed to complement UC both by funding the last leg of transportation of bed nets to the sites for distribution, and expanding the communication and teaching aspects of the campaign.

At both regional and local levels, meetings and trainings were held in order for health administrators, staff, and volunteers to learn about the logistics of the program, what their roles would be, and how to fill them. Health Education PCV Elizabeth MacAfee and I attended these meetings, and collaborated with Linguere’s Chief of Medicine, Dr. Tidiane Thiam, and his staff to finalize our plan and start working. We also applied for and received the USAID grant, which would make up 3.93% of Linguere’s CU budget.

Local health volunteers then took a census of the area to count the number sleeping spaces in a household and how many usable nets were already in each household.  I accompanied volunteers on visits to over 1,000 households in and around my host village. After the census was complete, the information was sent to a validation committee. Once the amount was verified, the required number of nets were transported to health facilities.

The National Malaria Control Program and UC implementing partners paid for nets as well as their transport to the 12 health posts in the district, and the USAID grant provided financing for nets to be moved from there to over 50 distribution points located away from those health posts. I oversaw the transportation of bed nets to 26 sites with one of the health district’s supervisory teams, led by the health district’s programmatic supervisor, Insa Ndiaye. Insa was a great work partner because of his extensive experience in the management and oversight of large-scale health projects, as well as high standards and thorough follow-through. Supervision involved ensuring the proper delivery of nets, labelling each with its owner’s name to ensure that it would not be resold, and teaching LLIN recipients how to care for and repair their nets. We also helped to fix problems such as miscommunication or disorganization.  We communicated the UC history and goals and recognized all implementing partners and volunteers who helped make the distribution a success. All in all, there were 69,808 bed nets successfully distributed to Linguere district’s population of 114,273.

A Universal Coverage Campaign requires a remarkable amount of planning, logistics, organization, and teamwork amongst the National Malaria Control Program, implementing partners, health structures, Peace Corps Volunteers, and community health volunteers. NetWorks is a program from Johns Hopkins University Center for Communications and was the primary implementing partner of the distribution. They effectively assisted with transportation logistics, finance calculations, and the general collaboration strategy. Many PCVs coordinated with their local health posts and district hospitals to ensure the arrival of the nets and assisted with distribution efforts. I was consistently impressed with the level of cooperation and coordination by all parties.

Communications Efforts

PCV Sarah Legare speaking at a village-wide awareness raising meeting in the village of Kadji

Throughout distributions, and for two weeks after they were complete, the communication phase took place. Communication activities aimed to get the message out about what UC is, the importance and advantages of using nets, and to reiterate care and repair information. This was where the most incredible work happened …and the most fun! Health volunteers and staff worked together with NetWorks, radio stations, and other local partners to facilitate radio broadcasts and market day information-sharing events. Village meetings were also organized in cooperation with town and village leaders while town criers and traditional communicators led information caravans through more populated areas. Through all of these events, there was no shortage of music, dancing, and even singing popular songs with the lyrics changed in keeping with the theme of educating on malaria and bed nets.

In addition to participating in many UC-sponsored communication events, we were able to fund and organize two village-wide awareness-raising meetings through our USAID grant with the participation of the villages and Aquadev, a Belgian NGO working with other partners in the Linguere area on malnutrition and other poverty and insecurity issues such as malaria reduction. At these meetings, attendees were asked questions about how to use, care for, and repair their nets. Attendees also talked and sang about malaria prevention and watched net-use demonstrations. Youth and women’s groups performed skits about the importance of using nets and the impact that malaria is having in their communities. At the meeting in the village of Doundodji, one of Senegal’s national television networks, RTS, filmed the events and conducted interviews as a part of their coverage of UC in the Louga region. Throughout communication efforts, I took part in three radio and one television broadcast, traveled to 7 of 8 village awareness raising events, and accompanied the two information caravans in the district.

The results were encouraging; about 1600 people were reached during the communication events I attended, in addition to television and radio audiences. Not only was the local population reached during the communication phase, but because of national coverage of UC, people all over Senegal saw and heard from regional and district staff about the goals, objectives, events, and messages sent by the campaign. For instance, the “3T’s” slogan (Toute la famille, toute l’année, toutes les nuits) encourages every family member to sleep under his or her net every night of the year was widely broadcasted. I saw many community members who were excited to use their new nets and enthusiastic about doing their part to help prevent malaria by regularly and properly using and caring for their new nets.

As the communication phase wrapped up, volunteer health workers started a second door-to-door tour of the district; PCVs also helped with this work in their host communities. During these home visits, volunteers verified that homes received the correct number of nets, that they were properly hung, and clarified any confusion about the nets.

Evaluation and Follow-Up

Linguere Net Distribution

Volunteer health workers in Thiel facilitate a community lesson on malaria prevention and demonstrate how to make neem lotion at a women’s group meeting the evening after attending our training.

Following the second round of home visits, I attended Linguere’s final evaluation meeting, which took place on June 29th. During this meeting, hospital staff reviewed the UC events, presented statistics, and gave feedback. Everyone was thanked for their hard work by district hospital and health post administrators as well as NetWorks representatives. Peace Corps was also recognized for its role, not only in this phase of UC, but as a founding force behind the campaign as a whole in 2008, when PCVs started gathering resources behind large-scale net distributions in the Southeastern region of Kedougou, where malaria has a big impact on the population. Although our grant only made up a small percentage of the UC budget in the Linguere district, it was rewarding to hear that UC partners are grateful for Peace Corps’ work throughout the history of the campaign, and that our role has continued to play a part in its success.

Post-UC, PCV Elizabeth MacAfee and I continued working with Aziz Ndiaye, who holds dual positions in the preventative health program with the Linguere district hospital and as a zone coordinator for Aquadev, and his supervisor Demba Diack who is responsible for the Linguere health district. Together, we developed visual aids and planned a series of lessons for women’s groups about identifying the signs of malaria, testing, prompt treatment, proper net use and care, mosquito density control, and neem lotion, a natural mosquito repellant. We taught 14 of these lessons, each with a separate group in the Linguere district, where we reached 438 women and 24 men. Aziz Ndiaye and Mame Abdou Coundoul, a volunteer health worker, have helped us facilitate lessons in Wolof-speaking communities while Demba Diack and Sadio Sow, another Aquadev zone coordinator, helped out at Pulaar-speaking sites.

Volunteer health workers present at each lesson have been charged with serving as resource people both informally in their communities, and by re-teaching information from our lessons in the future during Aquadev-facilitated meetings. Following these lessons, we held a 3-day training of local volunteer health workers in collaboration with Demba Diack and Diery Ba, a third Aquadev zone coordinator in the Linguere district, during which we trained 25 volunteer health workers and one elementary school director at three different sites in the Thiel area, over 60km from Linguere where health services and trainings are historically scarce. We also partnered with the local radio station to broadcast about our program, and held community mobilization events in each of the villages, which were related to both our trainings and the prevention of maternal and child malnutrition. Following trainings, attendees were provided with visual aids and materials to make neem lotion and asked to facilitate lessons in their communities. Similar to those we taught with Linguere-area women’s groups, these lessons will relay the information taught to the health workers during their trainings and are designed to promote an increased capacity for malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in their communities.

Beyond Universal Coverage

In January, 6 months after UC wrapped up, routine bed net distribution is set to commence in the Louga region, which means that long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) will be available for 500 CFA (about $1) to anyone who visits a health structure for a consultation of any kind. Free nets will also be available to pregnant women who go to a prenatal visit. PCVs are planning to work with NetWorks and health staff.

The role of Peace Corps Volunteers has been instrumental in the Louga Universal Coverage Campaign. Throughout the distribution, Volunteers have built new partnership with NetWorks, Aquadev, and local health structures. I’m happy to have been a part of it all, and am excited to see what is to come. This collaboration has provided incalculable knowledge, great friendships, and work partners, and a whole lot of inspiration to do more to stop malaria.

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Peace Corps Volunteer Helps Fight HIV/AIDS and Malaria Co-Infection in Gaza Province


A student learns how to install new windows at the secondary school

Recognizing the need to ensure a safe, comfortable learning space for students in a district plagued by a high prevalence of HIV infection and high rates of malaria infection, Education Volunteer Ali Wolters launched a project that joined existing community organizations in the fight against HIV/AIDS and Malaria co-infection in the district of Guijá, Gaza Province, Mozambique. The project, titled “Combating Malaria and HIV/AIDS at School,” was based at the Secondary School of Guijá and centered around mass school rehabilitation activities. Windows, screens and doors were replaced and installed throughout the building, which serves as facilities for over 1000 students each year. Students learned about the naturally repellents available in the community and planted lemongrass, believed to be a natural mosquito repellent, on school grounds. A series of lessons and discussions were held with the students about HIV, HIV/AIDS and malaria co-infection, natural repellents, and the importance of implementing and maintaining the project in their community. Ali designed the PEPFAR funded project along with two teachers from the school with the goals of decreasing the risk of infection of malaria among the students and teachers at the Secondary School of Guijá- especially among those who are HIV-positive and/or pregnant, increasing student attendance of night school and their knowledge of the dangers of HIV/AIDS and malaria, and enhancing the students’ skills in helping maintain the school classrooms through the rehabilitation of the windows, screens and doors of the classrooms.

A student cares for lemongrass planted around the school

Collaborating with 19 student volunteers, local carpenters installed and repaired 100 windows and 10 doors and installed screens throughout the school. Installing screens and repairing windows and doors helps to protect students studying at night from mosquito exposure, with the hopes of further decreasing teacher and student absenteeism due to malaria infection. The student volunteers also gained carpentry skills, learning directly from the carpenters how to rehabilitate and maintain the new windows, doors, and screens.

Prior to, and during the completion of the rehabilitation of the school’s classrooms, the school carried out three informational sessions for the morning, afternoon and evening classes. These informational sessions were held with 8th-12th grade students on HIV/AIDS and malaria co-infection, natural repellents, and the importance of implementing and maintaining this project in their community. An 11th grade student who had been invited to research the use of lemongrass as a natural repellent at Mozambique’s Ministry of Science and Technology presented his research to fellow students during these sessions. He had been granted a 6-month internship with the local Ministry of Agriculture where he used the laboratory to plant and prepare lemongrass seedlings. Student volunteers planted lemongrass  around school grounds. The students hope to see the malaria incidence at the school decrease over the next year.

Geração Biz, an existing student activist group at the school, held theater and school clean-up events to supplement the

Students and local carpenters work together to install new windows and screens

project, boost morale, and promote the project among teachers and students. The group organized events focusing on using plants as mosquito repellents and keeping school grounds and the surrounding community clean and free of tall grass and standing water to help decrease possible mosquito breeding areas. They plan to continue organizing community clean-up events on a monthly basis and encouraging student involvement.

Though she is now ending her service as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Ali is certain that the work done during this project will be maintained, given the amount of community involvement and combined student and teacher enthusiasm for HIV/AIDS co-infection reduction.


Volunteer Partners with Medicine Education Africa


Peace Corps Volunteer Nicole Sherman



Have you heard of MEA? Tanzania Peace Corps Volunteer Nicole Sherman found this hidden gem of the Tanga Region and wrangled a 3rd year extension position to help with their malaria work and more. Nicole takes a moment to explain just what MEA does.


What is MEA?

Medicine Education Africa

When/how/why did it start?

In 1995, two English men  established  a non-profit organization entitled MEA to fill a void left by the Tanzanian Governments attempt to provide primary healthcare to villages in the Tanga Region. Both men discovered the immense improvement the Village Health Project had created amongst communities and sought to prolong the program after its complete demise in 1980.

What do they do?

MEA is a health project that supports over 250 health workers in remote villages across the Tanga Region. MEA offers first aid services and provides training and supervision to health workers, thus allowing them to supply stronger services to their fellow community members.

You can also find out more about our partnerships and donations by visiting the Community Health Care Direct Trust (CHCD) website at: www.chcd.org.uk

How did you get involved?

MEA has an office in my banking town of Tanga and is partnered with a village health worker of my former village at Misozwe. While working at Misozwe, I was very active at the clinic and wanted to continue working with health workers in a more extensive capacity. I was fortunate to connect with the present Project Advisor, Pamela Allard, in Tanga town. She needed assistance with trainings, particularly in the area of malaria, so I came aboard.

What do you like most about what you do?  What are the biggest challenges working for MEA?

I feel an extremely strong connection to the community of Tanga, due to the fact that most of my service has taken place here. MEA allows me the opportunity to provide services to village health workers in this area that might not have been possible without proper resources and staff, such as: trainings/team building workshops, medical supplies, and donors. Although my employment has yet to fully mature, I have gathered my personal challenges of MEA stem solely from outside circumstances regarding accurate monitoring/evaluation of behavior change within the community.

Describe a work day.

My typical day begins around 8:30 a.m. and usually ends around 2 p.m. When there are trainings, the day starts at 8 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. I am usually in the office 4 times a week, days may vary, but usually Mon-Thurs. Village health workers meet at the office every 6weeks to replenish medicine bags and discuss challenges/needs for work. We also have field work in the Pangani and Amani areas of Tanga which caters to village workers who are unable to travel to Tanga town every 6 weeks.

Sherman Leads a Training Session

Tell us more about Village Health Workers…Are they male or female?

Village Health Workers are comprised of men and women- a total of 250 participants and growing. 

What are their professions?

The workers come from various professions, such as: teachers (retired and active), assistant health workers and farmers.

How are they compensated for their work?
Through collaboration with their individual village government, each village worker is compensated according to the statutes placed by local government officials. MEA reimburses workers for transport and gives a small stipend for meals/incidentals for each day in town.

How often do they work?

Work hours vary. Some have designated days/times for community members to visit them at their home, while others work driven by demand. On average, it is estimated that workers provide care at least 2 to 3 times a week.

How many villagers does each one reach?

With village health workers operating in five major districts of Tanga (Amani, Lushoto, Mkinga, Muheza, Pangani and Amani), the projected number of community members reached is more than 121,000 community members and growing. We have a follow up/monitoring and evaluation field activity scheduled soon that will help verify numbers for the new fiscal year.

Do they work with specific groups – mothers, families, schools?

All demographics are reached. 

How long have they been working?

Twenty-nine of the health workers who participated in this year’s training have been with MEA for upwards of 18 years, while seventy-one participants began in 2000.

Trainings you participated in:

Since my arrival in August of 2012, I have participated in a total of 4 trainings for MEA.

Was this their first training?

No, MEA’s previous training occurred in the year 2009. 

Any trainings planned in the future?

Yes. It is understood that MEA will work to provide 1-2 trainings per year in an effort to increase participant moral and recruit new village health workers from different villages.

How are they selected?

Each individual is selected by their own local government officials to attend MEA trainings in Tanga town, operating on a rotating basis. They go through an extensive training for 1 week and are given a pre/post test to determine their eligibility.

When and where were the trainings? 

Trainings for this year of 2012 took place on August 21-22 and 27-28 as well as September 3-4 and 5-6. The venue for all of the trainings was at the MEA Office located in Tanga town.

How many people attended each training?

August 21-22:  Total Participants: 22

August 27-28:   Participants 1st Day: 25

2nd Day: 24

September 3-4:  Total Participants: 25

September 5-6: Total Participants: 25

How far did they travel to get to the training? How did they travel?

Most traveled up to 6hrs from their individual villages. All forms of transportation were taken: bicycle, walking and coaster.

How are you following up with the trainees? 

Most of the village health workers have to come in to refill their medicine bags, so we use this time to discuss any challenges that they are facing while offering support of supplemental materials and handouts from our small resource library. This resource library consists of outlines from topics discussed during training and feedback.

What kind of supervision do/will they have?

Supervision of medical supplies and proper use is offered by MEA Staff. All village health workers are responsible for the maintenance of the medicine provided and required to return all unused supplies to the MEA office.

How does reporting work?  Who do they report to? 

Health workers report to their individual village government; to clinics for referrals; and every 6 weeks to MEA where we measure unused medicine and give bag inspections. 

What are they reporting?

They report on specific health cases they encounter and its prevalence within the community they live. Health issues such as: worms, anemia, dehydration, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, scabies and fever.

How do they submit reports?

Every 6 weeks health workers submit their reports to MEA, and it is documented in the patient register book under each worker’s full name.

Although MEA is a small operating NGO by some standards, the organization delivers big. All of our programs are built with the intent of increasing and sustaining the livelihood of community members living in and around the Tanga Region.

Burkina Faso Welcomes New Trainees with Malaria Workshops

26 new trainees learn about malaria in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso has just received 26 new Health and Daba (environment) trainees (PCTs) and the Stomp Out Malaria Team had the privilege of presenting two fantastic workshops during their training.

The Stomp Team presented two sessions during the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 2: An Introduction to Malaria Prevention and Malaria Interventions, both of which are part of the Focus In Train Up curriculum developed for use Peace Corps-wide. Of course, Burkina Faso put our own country-specific twist on the program, using the latest national statistics available and focusing on Burkina’s national malaria control policy and interventions strategies.

The first session aimed to educate PCTs on the fundamental aspects of malaria, including the an overview of malaria’s past, the malaria vector, and the transmission cycle and an introduction to the malaria parasite P. falciparum.  The presentation also introduced key partners in malaria prevention such as President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), national partners such as Plan Burkina and the PNLP (Program National de Lutte Contre le Paludisme), and, of course, Stomp Out Malaria. Participants also completed a handout with their host family communities aimed at engaging them in a dialogue about how Burkinabe perceive malaria and various interventions. The PCTs really opened up during a talk back about this activity and shared some of the challenges they experienced when talking about malaria with their families.

The second session focused more on Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) role in malaria prevention. PCTs participated in interactive lessons about how to make neem cream, how to repair bed nets, and how to give talks to community groups about key malaria intervention strategies such as early treatment and using a bed net regularly. The group practiced giving “elevator pitches”, brief 3 minute speeches, in response to possible scenarios they might encounter at their posts involving community members who seem to be misinformed about malaria. This activity helped to reinforce aspects of communication that are crucial when talking about behavior change, as well as help PCTs gain more confidence in bringing up sensitive issues like malaria with people they will be serving.

Training is a valuable way to engage future PCVs in helping us fight malaria. By encouraging these trainees to make malaria a fundamental part of their work from the beginning of their time in country, we are educating new leaders who can pass the torch to the next generations. The Stomp Team had a great time getting to know this new group and we’re looking forward to Stomping with them throughout their service!