Letters

Healthcare

Planning with love.

The reformed Church of East Africa started an Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) in 1986 to respond to the pressing needs in the rural communities where the church serves. The pioneer programme was in agriculture, but we soon found that there was no way we could deal with a single problem and leave the others (health, income generation, etc) because all of them were interwoven together. Following the last issue, I thought I would share our experiences in family planning.

When we started this programme, many of our target group of people already had large families – the average was five children. People were very shy to speak frankly about this issue because culturally one does not talk about, or count, the number of people in the family.

We started to approach this issue by loving them, not by looking down at them. We discussed how their grandparents had planned their families, and why people no longer used these methods. We helped them to look at their present situation. What are the reasons for shortages of food and money? Their answer was that there were too many people to care for.

We encouraged them to look at the future. Will the land they own be enough for their children and their families? What are the alternatives? Can they pay for education so their children can find employment?

We discussed family planning positively and gave them freedom to suggest alternative methods. We used established and mature families as living examples of the benefits of planning a family, and when possible we used them to communicate the message.

Ezekiel Sitienei, Eldoret, Kenya

Pump worked well

I work in the Audiology Unit in Banjul Hostpital. We are very happy to receive Footsteps. The issue on Water helped me in the work I have started in my home village. We have been able to put in a pump-well with the help of a Water Aid project. They loaned me a truck for six days to carry stone and sand, and helped with some funds. The village and myself raised the rest of the money.

Now we are planning for a day care nursery school in the village and will be grateful if we receive the next issue on children. I hope Footsteps will take care of me. I wish to learn about all the subjects concerned with health programmes.

Anthony Mendy, Banjul, Gambia.

Footsteps on the air

Thank you for putting us on the mailing list to receive Footsteps. Trans World Radio will share with our listeners what we learn from its pages.

We will mention Footsteps during our broadcasts and trust that more people will be made aware of this very insightful publication. We are glad to hear that you will shortly be publishing it in French, because soon we will be starting some pilot programmes in French to be beamed to Francophone Africa.

Bernice Mwaniki, Trans World Radio, Nairobi, Kenya.

Water-tank home

In Footsteps No1, there were details of how to build a ferro-cement water tank. Tim Holmes has sent in these photos – one of a completed tank, the others show another use for the tank. At Saradidi Rural Health Project in Western Kenya, Tim has used this method to build a house! The house will have a traditional thatched roof. The walls, built using arc mesh rather that chicken wire, are strong and, unlike traditional designs, they will not become weakened by termites.

For those involved in training others in ferro-cement tank construction, UNICEF have produced an excellent manual, which gives clear and detailed instructions. It is called the “Standing Ferro-cement Tank Construction Manual”. To obtain a copy you should write, giving details of your work, to: UNICEF, Technology Support Section, PO Box 44145, Nairobi, Kenya.