After a busy transition month with FT7, life has settled into an almost familiar pace here in Isibania.  The past few weeks have focused on preparation for some important training events that will take place over the next two months.  As you will know from previous blog posts, the Healthcare Program uses two complementary strategies to create behavior change in the communities in which we work – Home Visit Strategy (HVS) and the newly created Social Marketing Strategy (SMS).

Last week, we finalized the hiring decisions for the new Social Marketing team.  Three Field Officers who previously worked as part of the WatSan program are now Field Officers for Social Marketing – they are all from the local community and we are grateful to have their knowledge and experience as part of our new team.  The Field Manager is an external hire and brings with her knowledge of behavior change as well as experience in managing a team of community health workers for another organization.

This week, we welcome Fay Johnston from Red Balloon Ideas to Isibania to conduct a training workshop on social marketing.  The first social marketing campaign will focus on latrines which ties directly to one of our 10 Healthy Behaviors.  The Social Marketing team will work closely with the R&D and M&E teams throughout this process to conduct formative research in the area, identify a target market, and develop and implement a tailored and targeted campaign to increase latrine usage in the area.  I’m sure there will also be ample opportunities for a bit of toilet related humor along the way too!

Another big event in the Healthcare Program will be the training of the Home Visit Strategy Field Officers for Isibania and Kehancha Divisions at the beginning of August.  Our Training Manager is busy revising and updating the curriculum to create an interactive and informative training.  Meanwhile, the recruitment for Field Officers from Mabera Division is getting underway.  Busy and exciting times!

This is my first blog for Nuru and I am looking forward to sending frequent updates and reflections over the next two years during my time in Kenya.  It’s hard to believe that it was only this time last year that I visited Isibania for the first time to attend a training that was hosted by Nuru, and now this is my home.  Having worked elsewhere in Kenya running a water, sanitation and hygiene program, I know first hand how difficult it is to create lasting change in a sustainable and scalable way.  What really struck me when I met the Nuru staff was their increasing confidence and ability to solve their own problems and help their community – I was inspired to work alongside them. The Nuru model is truly innovative and I am glad to be a part of helping to end extreme poverty here in Kuria.