Written by Julie Pulombo, National Malaria Coordinator for Peace Corps Zambia
Peace Corps/Zambia is organizing a series of Malaria Training of the Trainer (TOT) workshops. The strategy is an effort to motivate Peace Corps Volunteers from all sectors such as environment, agriculture, and education, plus health, to engage in highly innovative and focused malaria work. The first Malaria TOT took place in Zambia’s Northern Province in June. The second was held in Eastern Province in early-July.
Volunteers and Counterparts received training on the complexity of malaria transmission, key interventions, and how the supply chain for test kits and treatment kits works in Zambia. The Malaria TOTs also expose Volunteers to a diverse array of malaria projects to take back to their communities. So far, a total of 14 Volunteers and 15 Zambian counterparts have completed a Malaria TOT.
On the second day of the workshops, Zambian counterparts created innovative project ideas to combat malaria. One team is planning to educate school-aged children on malaria and then organize a malaria radio spot competition. The winning radio spot will be aired on local radio. Another team recently distributed bednets to a local boarding school. They are planning to implement a bednet beautification project for students to learn about malaria and add fabric to the bottom of their nets to make them more durable.
Zambian health officials also participated in the workshops. Representatives from the Kasama District Health Office and from the Eastern Provincial Health Office gave presentations on current malaria trends and the distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS). Partnering with local health officials is important for Peace Corps’ malaria work, and the workshops helped to strengthen these relationships.
Intense and focused malaria training equips Volunteers and their community partners with the knowledge and inspiration needed to tackle malaria in their communities. Over the next few months, Volunteers will work with their Counterparts to implement malaria projects they developed during the workshops.