We had the Zambezia Provincial Science Fairthis past Saturday in the provincial capital of Quilimane. We had near 50 participating students representing 11 districts from across the province. The event consisted of an opening with cultural groups, followed by an HIV/AIDS theatre piece by a local JUNTOS group. Then came the exposition/judging period with voluntary HIV Testing occurring in another room at the same time, followed by the presentation of prizes. The two winners that will represent the province of Zambezia at the National Fair are a 10th grader who made a natural insecticide from fermented plants and acids and an 11th grader who made his own DJ mixing device from scrap! Overall there were 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each ciclo and three prizes for overall best community based project, best HIV/AIDS related project and best project by a female. One of our students in Alto Molocue took home 2nd Place for 8th-10th grades, parabens Belchuir!
The best part of the fair, 17 people were tested for HIV/SIDA and they all came back negative! All in all was a great opportunity to witness some Mozambican ingenuity and motivate kids to get into SCIENCE!
As the coordinator of the event, I am quite content with how the fair turned out and more than happy to hand over the organizing responsibilities to my sitemate Sam as he prepares for the National Fair on Sept 14th, also in Quilemane. The five days in Quilimane I spent prepping and realizing the provincial were by far the busiest I have been in Mozambique. The official budget and event plan was constantly changing and organizing a large event in Moz comes with some interesting hoops through which one must jump. But as stressful as it was at times, I felt great to be working on a project that I know has been and will continue to be a great success and help develop the future scientific community in Mozambique!
I served in Peace Corps Mozambique from September 2007- November 2009. During my time, I started a community art group within the secondary school, as a branch of JOMA (a Portuguese acronym for “Youth for Change and Action”). JOMA is a nationwide youth development organization started by Peace Corps Volunteers that uses communication mediums at the local level to promote healthy behavior among Mozambican youth, with a mission of social change.
My group in Monapo, Mozambique created over 5 murals in our community to promote awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS. This photo is with Momade Abdul, the group leader, helping create a mural in our local market named, “The fight with AIDS starts with us.”
Weekly Awesome Mozambique: Training of Trainers in Zambezia Province
On Thursday July 5th, in Mocuba, Zambezia province, eight Peace Corps Health Volunteers, ten Mozambican counterparts, one representative from PIRCOM (Programa Inter-Religioso Contra a Malária), and one Peace Corps Staff member participated in a general malaria prevention “Training of Trainers.” The purpose of this workshop was two-fold: to propagate malaria prevention messages to the communities where participants live and to prepare PCVs and Mozambican counterparts to assist in the upcoming net distribution and spraying campaigns in the districts where they live and work.
Working in Malaria prevention is important primarily, because the disease is comparatively simple to prevent and yet remains a leading cause of death throughout Africa and many other parts of the developing world. Through the proper use of bed nets, covering up exposed skin during evening hours, and removing/covering sources of standing water around your home diminish the mosquito population and therefore your chances of catching malaria.
From personal experience and living in Mozambique for the past 2 years, I can easily say that Malaria is one of the most diagnosed and treated cases at our local Hospital, and that all of my neighbors have been diagnosed or treated for malaria at some point in my service. I also say this while we are in the middle of our rainy season here in Mozambique, and already Malaria cases are beginning to skyrocket as the mosquito population begins to boom.