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Last week in Harare

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July 22, 2011

After weeks of weeding through surveys and doing data entry and analysis, I had been looking forward to finally travelling in Zimbabwe. My last weekend here me, Patrick and Danielle (another IRD intern) went to Great Zimbabwe, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and it’s known for being the largest best preserved stone wall city in Southern Africa.

One of IRD’s country staff Mr. Charles Ncube’s family stays in Masvingo City which is near Great Zimbabwe, and he generously offered to drive us down to Masvingo which is south east of Harare and put us up at his home for the weekend as well. After driving for about 4 hours we finally got to Masvingo which is really a quaint little city with one main highway that goes straight through the city. We were warmly welcomed into Charles’s home by his wife and children, who were all impeccably dressed and patiently waiting for Charles to come home so that they could go to church. READ MORE

Finally settling down in Harare

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July 6, 2011

Some of the friends I have made here in Harare enjoying an afternoon together!

Some of the friends I have made here in Harare enjoying an afternoon together!

After having a memorable time in Buhera district, it has taken me a while to get used to the peacefulness and quiet nature of Harare and the IRD office.  In the last couple of weeks I have moved into a separate cottage of the IRD office and, in order to avoid things becoming too monotonous (from living at the same place that I work), I find myself going the extra mile in search of fun social events. Most of my time here in Harare has been occupied with work, now that the survey is done, Patrick (the other IRD intern) and I have to enter in all the data and analyze the information. The main purpose is to document impacts of the REVALUE program that were not expected in the original design and to use the information we collect to mobilize resources, so as to implement economic growth programs that impact orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). My main focus areas in the survey include the diet diversification of the children, so, I composed a diet diversity indicator based on the guidelines of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That basically entailed a 24 hr household recall where we asked what the children had to eat the day before and we singled out children under 2 and asked different questions to reflect their breastfeeding needs. I was also in charge of the psychosocial aspects, so I adapted a set of questions based on a previous OVC survey conducted in Zambia. Lastly I constructed some questions on the basic health status of the children.

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Religious Leaders Help Fight HIV/AIDS in Africa

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July 1, 2011

We’ve continued to delve into the analysis of our survey data over the last two weeks.  We’ve found a few interesting and important trends, which I’ll mention in a later post.

Today, though, I want to tell you about the role of religious leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.  Please note that these are solely my opinions, based on my work experience in southern Africa.

If you haven’t heard about the scale of the AIDS crisis in this part of the world, you can readily find frightening statistics with minimal Googling.  The disease is devastating people of every tribe, class, education level, gender, and age.  Some African nations, with the financial backing of the west, have stemmed the tide, but others, for various reasons, haven’t even made a dent. READ MORE

Those who sow in tears will reap songs of joy

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June 23, 2011

One of the beneficiaries proudly stands by her traditional Zimbabwean kitchen, which displays all the pots, pans, and utensils very decoratively; this is one example of numerous others that I saw in Buhera.

I just returned from a ten-day trip out to the field in Buhera District/Murambinda, which is in the eastern part of Zimbabwe, only three and half hours away from the capital of Harare. It was ten days of no internet, no television, 6 a.m. bucket baths and constant power cuts, and despite all this, I really enjoyed my time there. The people were kind and very friendly and I finally got the chance to practice what little Shona I have learned. With no rainfall since the early months of the year, the landscape in Buhera is filled with dry grass, green bushes and trees but clear blue skies and sunshine almost every day. READ MORE

Enumerators

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Written June 17, 2011

Patrick Gallagher (in back) and his fellow Emory/IRD intern Chantalle Okondo (middle front) with their survey enumerators.

We’ve returned to Harare after 10 days in the Zimbabwean district of Buhera in Manicaland Province.  Things went about as well as we could have hoped!

To remind you, my Emory colleague Chantalle and I have been charged with designing, conducting, and analyzing a quantitative survey seeking to understand the impact of IRD-Zimbabwe’s REVALUE program on the wellbeing of children of rural groundnut farmers.

We began the field visit by training our four survey enumerators on the specifics of our survey, including how to ask certain questions, probe for answers, and verify crucial information such as the age of the respondent.  In turn, the enumerators provided us with insight on which parts of the survey might be difficult to administer due to linguistic nuances or cultural differences.  Our enumerators shined from the beginning, as they had all conducted a different survey just two weeks previously.  Their experience and honesty enabled us to quickly work out most of the kinks and begin surveying the same day. READ MORE

Patrick Gallagher — Zimbabwe

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Patrick GallagherGreetings all. I’m Patrick Gallagher, a Master in Public Health student at Emory University and summer intern at International Relief and Development (IRD) in Harare, Zimbabwe. I’ll be periodically posting news about my work and other observations to let Candler friends and family know about Emory’s involvement in international development work. Thanks for reading!

I spent a week at IRD headquarters in Washington, DC, becoming acquainted with the organization and its activities. The breadth and depth of IRD’s programs around the globe is impressive (see www.ird.org for more), especially for a relatively young organization, and its people were experienced and energetic. The five-day orientation left me excited to get to the field.

After arriving in Harare, Zimbabwe, on May 22, I got down to business the next day. A thorough explanation of the nuances of IRD-Zimbabwe’s REVALUE program gave me insight into the complexity of agricultural programming in international development, a field to which I had no previous exposure. READ MORE

On African Soil

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June 2, 2011

It has been about two years since I touched down on African soil, but yet it feels like I never left. This summer I am interning with International Relief and Development (IRD) in the beautiful country of Zimbabwe. After a fun-filled time in the DC area attending a weeklong orientation, I boarded my first flight on Saturday, May 23rd at around 6 pm and landed in my final destination of Harare, Zimbabwe at 1 am Monday morning. Phew! That was a long journey.

Some of the programs IRD implements in Zimbabwe include the Restoring Livelihoods – Strengthening Value Chains (REVALUE) program, which increases incomes of 8,550 farmers by focusing on the value chains of groundnuts, sesame, sugar beans and paprika. IRD also started the Peri-Urban Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting (PROOF) program, which provides a medium-term solution to the critical safe water supply problem faced by some high-density area municipalities in Zimbabwe through the installation of rooftop rain water harvesting systems (RWHS). My work at IRD will mostly focus on examining the impacts of the REVALUE program on orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). READ MORE