What's happening...

Collaboration and spreading the word

In August, I was in Australia, mainly for R&R but I succeeded in undertaking some useful collaboration with the Kyeema Foundation and sharing experiences and information with some very knowledgeable individuals. Kyeema have since launched their revamped web site. With help from RPC, they have also revised their newsletter communication systems. We are very appreciative of the continuing assistance and support we get from Kyeema.

In our work in Ntchisi, things have changed somewhat. Our local field officer, Wongani Khonje, has moved elsewhere. However, our work program in Ntchisi has also changed now and mostly involves building on and embedding the good work done by Khonje. We are working with government field staff and with community representatives to ensure our exit from the program in the first half of next year does not disrupt activities. Things are looking good. The community representatives have become increasingly autonomous in procuring vaccines and medicines for their communities. Here in Malawi, this is a move in the right direction.

District government field staff have been of tremendous assistance in monitoring and communication. We are sure this program will continue long after outside support ceases and the funding dries up. We will continue to monitor from a distance for some time after that in any case, so we will know. We will also try to adopt a similar model of inputs in other geographic locations in future when we can find support.

We continue to work closely with the Malawi government to support the I-2 Newcastle disease vaccine production unit at Central Veterinary Laboratory in Lilongwe. We are assisting the Department in identifying the constraints to production and setting up a strategy to increase production in order to meet the demand. One of the givens of vaccination with I-2 is that rural communities which have started vaccination see the benefit and call for more. Thus, at the grass roots level, there is strong support for the vaccine. Given that the majority of village poultry do not yet have access to the I-2 vaccine, an increase in demand seems inevitable. We must be ready to meet it.

And finally, not much is heard about our work with other NGOs but it is an important part of our activities. We have assisted in programs being conducted by several NGOs, both large and small, working here in Malawi. Often, this has taken the form of training for field staff. Our expertise is appreciated and we hope we can continue with this work. We can and do give useful technical guidance.

Pat Boland
10 November 2015

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