SR article

Week #3: Needs assessment (1)

Barpello, Baringo County, Kenya

This week we started our need assessment officially. We organized several Focus Group Discussions with specific groups representing a part of the Pokot community. Beforehand we selected 5 Focus Groups; Women (mothers), Men, Elders, Youth and Children. Moreover, we did several Key Informant Interviews, to confirm the conclusions derived from the FGD’S and to gain more background information on the needs of the community. 

We experienced there are some challenges when you organize a group discussion. To start, there is the difficulty with language, we needed a good translator during every meeting that could explain our questions very well to the people. In Barpello people are used to get called for a meeting, because the EPMP does regular seminars on health education. But they are also used to get a meal, so arrange food for all of them while you don’t know beforehand how many will show up, is the second challenge. Then there is the challenge of time, because the Pokot are not very punctual, so many will arrive 1-3 hours late. Finally, it is not always easy to get the attention and participation you want from the people, for example because they are shy to give their opinion. We were lucky that we could combine some FGD’s with seminars that were planned already and people were really willing to participate. With the help of the EPMP (Modesta, medical staff) and the Chief our discussions went very well and the information we got turns out to be very useful!

Family visit
After we arrived and we the sisters showed us around in Barpello, we visited a family homestead. We saw several Pokot houses, we met one very old lady (> 100 years) and several children. We noticed most of the parents were absent and the children stayed home alone.

Building site Resource Centre
As soon as we heard the news that the elders of Barpello had agreed on the peace of land that they give to the EPMP to construct the new dispensary together with the resource centre, we went to have a look. The area is a lot larger than we expected, which is good news. We took the coordinates of the boundaries that the elder showed us, so later we can locate the area on the map. We decided to come back again to mark the rivers, in order to make a more detailed map of the building area.

FGD Mothers
On Saturday we arranged the first Focus Group Discussion with the mothers, together with Irene (chief of Barpello). We started with 9-15 mothers, and we ended with almost 40. First, they were told some things about hygiene by the EPMP, then it was our turn. We split the group in 4, where each group had a different topic to discuss. Then we asked someone from each group to summarize their conclusions and the people from other groups had the opportunity to react and to give additional comments. The discussion was lively and after they received a meal, the mothers were so happy and grateful that they danced and prayed a lot to say thank you.

Church & climbing mountain with the Youth
Sunday we went to church in Barpello, which was the first time we saw many members of the community together, including the students of the secondary school. In the afternoon we went to climb the mountain behind the church together with some of the youth (Job, Gloria, Teresa and a boy named Rob). On top of the mountain we had a great overview of Barpello and the facilities, so we made a picture. During the walk we had also the opportunity to ask some informal questions in order to get to know the youth of Barpello a little more.

On Monday, the EPMP had planned a health seminar for the men of Barpello. This meeting was special, because it would be the first meeting for men. They discussed several sensitive subjects, such as FGM (female genital mutilation), HIV/Aids and Sexual Transmitted Infections. At the end we made the same division of groups as we did with the mothers. The men were discussing the topics very seriously and they even made notes per group. Unfortunately, it started raining, so we had to end the discussion in the middle. We decided to collect the notes they made and to write down a list of 6 volunteers who we can call another day for a meeting to discuss what the men had written down. In the end the men were also very grateful.

Key Informant Interviews
After a few days we made a list of the persons we would like to invite for an interview. We asked Lidia, who works in the honey house and runs her own business in making jewelry, she’s also mother of 9 children and she’s very honest about the challenges she has. We asked Kimei, who is in charge of the medical dispensary. We arranged a meeting with Irene, female chief of Barpello. And finally we want to talk to Sister Modesta, as coordinator of the EPMP.

BMC interacting with the children
Because the schools closed early this year, the children of primary school have a long holiday (2 months). During this period the sisters are leading a afterschool program that is called BMC. They meet the children on Tuesday. Thursday and Saturday. We went on Thursday to introduce ourselves and afterwards we played soccer. They loved playing soccer and we will meet them soon to play again. We are also thinking about organizing a playful Focus Group Discussion with these children.

Clinic for pregnant women
On Tuesday there was clinic at the dispensary. Pregnant women came from everywhere for a monthly check-up. The first time they show up, they receive a small booklet where they keep track of the condition of the mother and the baby. The costs for the check-up is 50 shilling. The mothers are being weighted, and they go for physical exam to feel if the fetus is in the right place. They get injections with vaccine, to protect them against several diseases. In the end they receive a free mosquito net, to take home.

Clinic for immunization babies
On Wednesday, there was clinic for immunization of young children (less than 1 year old) and the same routine was repeated. The small babies were being weighted and received injections. Afterwards the mothers received some food (pourrage) because the EPMP wanted to give some information about health and hygiene. We had the opportunity to start a small Focus Group Discussion with 25-30 mothers with a young child.

Shooting video
On the 2nd of December, Team Pokot has organized a benefit dinner followed by a party in order to raise money for the resource centre. Team Pokot requested us to shoot videos of Barpello and interview several people on camera. We worked hard in the past days to get as many good quality videos from all our activities as possible. This Friday Martijn and Thirza will take the files to Nakuru to send them to Team Pokot in the Netherlands.

This week has been quite busy! We had a strict time table to follow and each day was full of meetings and interviews. We managed to get all the things we wanted on camera and almost all the information that we need for the needs assessment. We have still some Focus Group Discussions and interviews to go, which are planned for this weekend.

This Friday Martijn and Thirza will travel to Nakuru to finalize the needs assessment and the stakeholder report. We decided to split the group for these 5 days, so Tobias and Eileen can stay in Barpello to continue mapping the area for constructing the resource centre. FGD met elders FGD met de youth. We noticed that splitting up can be very efficient, because we can do different activities at the same time. Hopefully we will finish the needs assessment and the stakeholders analysis after this weekend, like we have planned.

Upcoming events
• FGD Elders
• FGD Youth
• Mapping of building area
• Mapping water resources
• Finish Needs Assessment
• Finish Stakeholder Analysis
• Visit Barpello Secondary School
• Meet with students from secondary school (4th year)