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On African Soil

posted in: 2011, Zimbabwe - 1 Comment

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

Community Health Laos

posted in: 2011, Laos - No Comments

May 26, 2011

The IRD Health Promotion Coordinator, Nouhak, begins the first community health education meeting in Dong Na Kham village, Xiaboutong district. The table in front of her is loaded with health promotion posters and prizes of toothbrushes, sponges, and soap.

For the last hour or so, we’ve bounced along the pitted dirt road, not touched by the thick humidity outside our heavily air-conditioned IRD vehicle. We’re on our way back from Dong Na Kham village, a small community of only 30 or so households about 80km from the field office in Gnomalat. Today was the first community health promotion meeting in this village. Although we left the office a little after 2pm, the meeting didn’t start until dusk around 6pm. It was enough time to allow men to finish in the fields and children to gather, as IRD staff connected the projector and speakers to the generator. While waiting for the rest of the community to gather, the health officer set up health education posters along the edge of the clearing to introduce the topics to be covered: hygiene, sanitation, and nutrition. As soon as each new poster went up, children eagerly crowded around. It was exciting to see the children’s interest. READ MORE

This is Africa

posted in: 2011, Mozambique - 4 Comments

Marques Harvey

“This is Africa,” was the greeting my Emory colleague and I received upon our arrival to the Maputo International Airport.  This common euphemism is one used by citizens and expatriates alike to describe the diversity of experiences one may encounter in a continent renowned for its rich complexities.  For me, this journey to the motherland meant the end of a 30-year gestational period in which a dream conceived by curiosity and cultural longing would finally be born into reality. Finally, this Africa I had read about, studied about, learned about and taught about—I was now here. It’s by being here and experiencing Africa personally that I can really appreciate the value in my theological training.

Mozambique shown in green on a map of the African continent.

Mozambique shown in green on a map of the African continent.

In the field of biblical criticism one of the more popular methods of critiquing the Bible is to analyze it from three worldviews: a historical perspective, a literary perspective and an ideological (or situational) perspective. The historical view gives the reader/audience an understanding of what was happening at the time in which the text was written/depicted. The literary view helps us understand the particular nuances within the biblical text focusing on the placement of the texts and how they read. The ideological view helps us to understand not only what the text means and who wrote it, but allows for interpretations other than the original editor/writer’s to include the voice(s) of the reader. READ MORE

Candler’s 2011 IRD Interns

posted in: 2011, About - No Comments

For the third consecutive year, Candler School of Theology has received a grant from International Relief and Development, Inc. (IRD) to send student interns to IRD service sites in several international locations this summer. Three Candler students and five students from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health will be assessing a broad range of issues, including democracy and governance, HIV/AIDS, child poverty and mortality, and community development.

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Jonathan Navas, 2nd year MDiv student
Lisandro Torre, Rollins School of Public Health student

Since October 2008, IRD has provided direct humanitarian assistance, including food, safe drinking water, and household and hygiene supplies, to internally displaced persons (IDPs), who are the families of those killed or missing in the civil conflict with the drug regimes in Colombia. Jonathan and Lisandro are supporting the closing baseline survey for the past three years of this IRD humanitarian program.

Peggy Jean Craig, 3rd year MDiv student
Heather Reese, Rollins School of Public Health student

IRD Laos is currently implementing a Food for Education project and a Vision Screening project for children. Peggy Jean and Heather are developing project proposals in health (water and sanitation, maternal and child health, nutrition) and/or education, which involves basic community assessments, writing concept papers, and contacting potential donors. In addition, they will assist in the development of photo essays or video documentaries featuring project information and impact stories to share with the IRD audience.

Marques Harvey, 2nd year MDiv student
Lindsey Haeger, Rollins School of Public Health student

Marques and Lindsey are contributing to a baseline survey for the upcoming intervention on Malaria, which will be administered under the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria. They also will visit target communities in the Inhambane and Sofala provinces of Mozambique and document stories about the impact Malaria has on these persons, the local economies, and the community.

Patrick Gallagher, Rollins School of Public Health student
Chantalle Okondo, Rollins School of Public Health student

In Zimbabwe, IRD implements the USAID-funded Restoring Livelihoods – Strengthening Value Chains (REVALUE) program. The primary focus of the REVALUE program is to increase incomes of 8,550 small holder farmers by developing commercially viable commodity value chains for groundnuts, sesame, sugar beans and paprika. The REVALUE program is currently being transitioned to the Zimbabwe Agricultural Incomes and Employment Development (Zim-AIED) program, under which IRD will continue the support to partnering farmers and will facilitate the access to credit for agri-businesses. Patrick and Chantalleare assessing the impact of income generated through the REVALUE and Zim-AIED programs to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs).

Responsibility and Respect

posted in: 2011, Colombia - 1 Comment

Jonathan Navas

Jonathan Navas

My current International Relief & Development (IRD) internship has allowed me to travel to Colombia for the first time. This is also my first time working with a non-governmental organization (NGO). In preparation for my seven-week internship in the city of Florencia, the capital of the department of Caquetá, I needed to grasp the principles that run an international NGO such as IRD. So, along with the other Emory interns, I attended a weeklong orientation at IRD’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. We learned much concerning IRD’s mission, goals and initiatives.

The province of Caquetá

Red area marks the province of Caquetá

All the interns then flew to their respective sites of work: Colombia, Laos, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

I have been in Colombia for nine days now (three days in Bogotá and six days in Florencia). My IRD partner, Lisandro, from the Rollins School of Public Health, and I met with IRD country directors for Colombia in Bogotá. IRD has two field offices, one in Tumaco, Nariño (Pacific Coast), and another in Florencia, Caqeutá (South). Tumaco and Florencia are cities containing large concentrations of internally displaced persons (IDP’s), largely composed of Afro-Colombians, Indigenous, and Mestizos (people from a mixed European and American Indian ancestry). Lisandro is stationed in Tumaco, which is largely Afro-Colombian, and I am in Florencia, which is largely Mestizo. READ MORE