Tuesday, June 29, 2010

intern project, COMPLETE

It is Monday evening, 6:31 pm. And my intern project is complete! (well, almost)

Today we had a successful training for some of the leaders of the women's groups, 12 out of 13 came, 2 representatives from each. Our agenda was somewhat delayed due to a storm that hit this morning, right as we were about to get under way. All twenty four participants were shuffled inside into the garage and other random rooms. We all took "tea time", which consisted of tea and butter sandwiches (literally, bread and butter. I made them)

After the rain subsided, all the chair were moved outside again under a tent, which was there in case of more rain, but more to protect the women from the hot sun that eventually moved in. Rehema then talked to them about the program for the day and gave a talk on good records keeping. Vaal then spent most of the morning going over detailed examples of how to keep records on milk production, cows, loan payback, meeting minutes and project reports. When the workshop was over, everyone was divided into four groups and then their reports were analyzed in detail. This analysis was used to rank the book keeping ability of each of the groups and their records management. Using this information, the top three women's' groups were awarded bio-sand filters as an incentive for the other groups to improve their book keeping.

Rehema translated for me when I talked to them about the bio-sand filters and the importance of keeping good records in order to properly document current and future projects. Afterwards, I carried out a trust building activity with the women called "Mine Field." I set up some obstacles on the floor of the garage to create an obstacle course. The women were then partnered with the other participant from their respective group and one of them was blindfolded. Their partner then had to direct the blindfolded person across the "mine-field" without knocking over any of the obstacles. It sounds simple, but culture gaps make explanation difficult and I wasn't sure how grown Ugandan women would respond to such a seemingly trivial game.

The activity was a great success! While the women were hesitant at first, after seeing the first group of 3 pairs go across, they all were eager to participate. Everyone was laughing and enjoying the activity. After everyone had gotten a chance to be blindfolded we had a short de-brief where we discussed the lessons learned and how to apply the game to daily group interaction. The women took a lot away from the activity and many of them said they learned patience, listening skills and how to trust their partners. I was very impressed at their level of interaction and with the comments they had about the lessons they learned.

I used my intern funds to pay for the bio-sand filters and the transport of each filter to the respective women's groups as well as for 13 bags and folders to help the women keep their records organized. Everyone is exhausted from the long day and now we are planning to go to Katosi tomorrow afternoon to stay the night so that we can help Avery with her project on Wednesday building tippy taps!

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