The Inhambane-Canada Maternal Health Project has had quite a full last eight months of 2017 in launching our agenda for change.

by Denise Kouri, Project Director

Our first few months were spent in establishing an operational center in Inhambane City, and bringing on a competent and experienced staff to carry out the programming and administrative work. We also did initial contact work with communities that will be partners over the next years.  Ten communities were identified and are the first stage of the network of local Committees of Health that we are forming. Ten more will be on brought shortly. We have been conducting a series of training workshops with our partners, as we move forward with project activities.

In October, I travelled to Inhambane to see the progress in person, with Principal Investigator (PI) Nazeem Muhajarine and development officer Don Kossick. In early October, our project held a workshop on gender rights and equality in Mozambique, facilitated by WLSA. We saw it as foundational for us to be able to integrate content about women’s equality in all our workshops and sessions in the future. At the debriefing following the workshop, participants felt it had been very worthwhile for acquiring more knowledge of the issues and preparing for training others.

Later in October we held a workshop on community development and community economic development. 38 representatives were there from communities we had designated as project partners. This workshop went into depth about the fundamentals of community involvement and the steps to create micro economic projects to benefit communities. Within all of these discussions and learning moments, the context was gender equity and woman’s leadership..

5 community support workers have been engaged to assist with a continuing connection to communities, giving organizing assistance to the initiatives of the local health committees and supporting the economic development projects.

While there, we hosted a visit to our project by Canada Global Affairs. This visit included a site visit to a community, health post and hospital in Zavala, and a tour of the Massinga Training Centre, a long-time partner in training activities.

During this time, our Program Steering Committee met in Inhambane to discuss and affirm the key programming activities of the project.

Our staff have been conducting all facets of the project work from: working directly in communities and developing a leadership that would focus on community priorities for health and development to linking with provincial health managers about continuing education priorities. For example, training sessions were held in September with teachers from the training centres of Massinga and Inhambane City on community engagement and gender equity.

Nazeem Maharjarine initiated a consultation session with provincial health managers on the use of near miss analysis in their work. Our project is also talking to managers about data collection and evaluation, including a survey for managers we have been developing.

All this work will continue into the New Year and we are excited about the involvement and dedication to move forward.