Stomp Botswana is excited to introduce our newest Malaria Coordinator Volunteer and Boot Camp graduate, Matt Kogle! Matt is a Community Capacity Building Volunteer based at the local clinic. He and his wife, Bridgette, live in the village of Shakawe in the northwest corner of Botswana beside the wild and scenic Okavango Delta. Read the interview below learn more about Matt and what he brings to the Stomp Botswana team.
Where are you from and what were you doing prior to Peace Corps?
I grew up in Washington State about an hour south of Seattle. Prior to Peace Corps I worked for a couple years as a geologist at an engineering consulting firm. I then went to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I received my M.S. in Geoscience.
What motivated you to apply for the Malaria Coordinator position?
Malaria has always been fascinating to me. I went to a couple of workshops held by the Botswana National Malaria Program on LLIN distribution and began learning about the history of malaria in Botswana. Once I found out Botswana was in the pre-elimination stage, I wanted to get any training possible to help Botswana meet its elimination goal.
What was the most valuable thing (or things) you learned at Malaria Boot Camp and how will you apply what you learned in Bots?
It was really valuable hearing about the experiences of other Boot Camp attendees fighting malaria in their respective countries. From their education techniques to behavior change and comparing similar experiences and differences from country to country. Additionally, I found it very valuable speaking with world experts on malaria. The information they provided to us was world class and will be extremely useful in the future.
What do you plan to do as Malaria Coordinator?
As Coordinator I plan on assisting PCVs in endemic areas who want to be involved in malaria education. I plan to continue working with researchers at the Botswana National Malaria Program to help them achieve their national goals. I also want to generate a randomized post LLIN (long-lasting insecticide-treated bednet) distribution survey to give to the public in villages that received LLINs in December through February (where other PCVs in Botswana can help). Lastly, I believe I have innovative ideas for malaria education activities. These include training people to make bat boxes to house mosquito eating bats (although not scientifically proven I feel it will help with insects) and completing site visits to identify breeding grounds and mosquito habitats on the individual level. All of which can be included with the non-invasive and invasive measures and educational materials that the Botswana government is using to reach their 2015 goal.
Stomp Botswana is gaining real momentum with the addition of this accomplished and passionate volunteer – welcome aboard, Matt!