The purpose of my trip here is to conduct research in order to turn in a thesis at the end of this year so that I may graduate with my Masters in Global Health. I am fortunate that I was able to combine this requirement with an experience that matches my career, and personal, interests. Working with CFK has provided insight into organizations and in the sort of “participatory development” that is so important. While I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue higher education at Duke, and to participate in the classes that I took while there, I chose Duke almost exclusively for the guaranteed chance to work abroad for this time and was really ready to get out of the classroom and into the field. It feels so satisfying to be doing something. While I give props to my more academically inclined classmates, I am much more excited to be here and talking with the people I hope to serve.
Check out this famous-in-my-field person talking about the importance of organizations “accompanying” those that they work with here.
|Mary, Amy and I on Amy's brief tour of Kibera|
To complete my goal of doing a program assessment of the SRH program, I have conducted almost all of the interviews with the staff that are involved in the Sexual and Reproductive Health program here at CFK. Because the program relies heavily on the use of peer-youth-educators, I have also conducted interviews with these youth leaders whom have turned out to be a fantastic resource for understanding the dynamics of Kibera. I have another focus group with these youth this weekend along with a focus group discussion with a small sampling of the participants of the program. Because of the newness of a project like mine to CFK, things move slowly but it is a learning process for all involved, and that is the point at the end of the day. I am also hoping to help the SRH program put in place a more thorough method of evaluating the program going forward. It may sound counterintuitive, but monitoring and evaluation is a relatively new concept for organizations, and CFK is not alone in needing to improve in this area. Luckily, the staff here is awesome, and the program officer I am working with (Ben!) has been very helpful.
While Kibera is an exhausting place to work at times, it is also an interesting and rewarding place that provides many adventures but also a space to contribute. There is always room for improvement in programming, for continual modification to suit new needs and feedback, and it is good opportunity to be a part of that process here.
CFK is celebrating its tenth year anniversary this month and you can bet there will be a big celebration in the community. Check out the book written by co-founder Rye Barcott here.