Emmanuel International Canada (EIC) is part of the PROMISE Project which stands for PROmoting Maternal, newborn, Infant and child Sustainable health Efforts (PROMISE) project in Malawi, supported financially by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. The project focuses in the Zomba region within the two Traditional Authorities of Kuntumanji and Malemia to reduce maternal and child mortality.
Project coordinator Kristy Nowell, who works for EIC, recently, took a trip to Malawi where she visited five villages and all six of the health clinics involved in PROMISE. She says the people benefiting from the PROMISE project are eager to learn and supportive of the good work being done.
Kristy says one of the most encouraging things she has heard about PROMISE’s progress is that of a single mother who, with some help, built a home latrine, tippy tap (handwashing station) and a drying rack for dishes. Simple designs and local materials for the tippy taps and drying racks enable villagers to be able to build them on their own without having to spend money. “She is a strong woman, who wants a better life for herself and her family,” says Kristy. The project is helping the villages by providing nutritional training including; the importance of exclusives breastfeeding for up to 6 months and the distribution of fruit trees and seeds to start gardens so they can have nutritional food on hand for their family and for others in need in their village. Every family Kristy met was very proud to show off their garden to her. EIC is making the Health Clinics more accessible by providing a total of 13 bicycle ambulances in 2017 with plans to donate another 13 in 2018.
PROMISE is assisting villagers by teaching them the importance of fuel efficient stoves. These stoves burn less wood, create more direct heat for cooking and create less smoke than a traditional stove. Using this technology provides more time for other important tasks, such as work and spending time on school studies for the children.
Those that are part of the PROMISE workshops are given initial training with refresher training available as a method to retain what they were taught.
So far, PROMISE has impacted approximately 57, 000 Malawians.
(Right: Kristy Nowell demonstrating a Tippy Tap; Soap Dish top right. Depress foot pedal to engage the water bottle to tip to wash hands)
Opening ceremonies were held for the official opening of the constructed latrines, incinerators and placenta pits and services to show their appreciation. “Kristy recalls speaking to a woman who said why the villagers were so happy to have EIC. “You [EI] are the only ones that have promised to come, and you are the only ones who came back”. This shows how important PROMISE is to the Malawian people.PROMISE continues to work towards its goals over the next 2 years.
“One of the passions I see,” Kristy says, “being in Malawi and visiting with the beneficiaries is not about getting; which is reducing maternal mortality rates.”
The villagers are grateful for the work EIC is doing.
(Photo: Kristy Nowell cutting Ribbon of the Latrine at St. Luke’s Hospital)