Weekly Awesome Malawi: Moving Forward – Malawi SWAG Takes Over

Written by: Beccy Burleson

Malawi Team BC12The end of an era is quickly approaching in the world of Malaria outreach in Malawi. Our first team of regional coordinators will COS in April, and a new team fresh from boot camp in Senegal will take over. We’ve even got a sweet new name: Malawi SWAG: Stompin’ Where Anopheles Gather.

Taking over the northern region from Dan Marthey is Ame “The Bees’ Knees” Burke. Ame is a health volunteer from Pennsylvania and is passionate about PCV relations. Therefore her primary focus as regional coordinator will be collecting and disseminating resources to make malaria outreach easy peasy for PCVs all over Malawi, in all sectors. She is already active  in malaria work, mobilizing youth groups through the Nightwatch program and promoting bed net use through Wall of Fame photo projects.

In the central region, Beccy Burleson is taking over for Amie Pendleton-Knoll.  Beccy is a health volunteer from Texas with a background in clinical healthcare. She is interested in health systems strengthening and hopes to pilot a “mini bootcamp” for staff at her local health center to improve malaria outreach in her community. The goal is for this program to grow to a regional or national scale. Her interest in malaria work began during her initial site visit, when she witnessed the death of a two-year old child from severe malaria.

Down south, malaria programming will be headed up by Justin Green, who is taking over for Rachel Ricciardi. Justin is an environment PCV from California who loves working in the community, particularly with youth. He is currently planning a “Malaria Cup” event for World Malaria Day which will include soccer games, dramas, music and educational opportunities.

Together the team is hoping to continue Malawi’s current “best practice” of hosting mini boot camps to train PCVs and their counterparts in malaria outreach. We are aiming for annual, national camps to be followed up with annual, regional one day meetups for continued encouragement, support and team building.

The new team has big shoes to fill, but we couldn’t be more ready. We have been so fortunate to attend boot camp together and to have been guided through this transition by such a great first team. Peace Corps Malawi is currently interviewing applicants for the National Malaria Coordinator, and we are on the edge of our seats as we wait to meet our new leader!