Healthy Families, Forests, and Chimpanzees
Written By: Dani Sarusi, Coordinator, Community Engagement
Category: From The Field
The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada has recently launched a new community conservation project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) called Delivering Healthy Futures. Through this project we hope to see a reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates in 20 communities throughout North Kivu and Maniema provinces in the eastern DRC. We will do this by building new maternal health clinics, collaborating with local volunteers to provide reproductive health and family planning education programs, and supporting capacity building among local health officials. JGI Canada has been working with villagers in this area for several years, learning what the priorities are and how to protect nearby habitat as partners. Integral to the success of our initiative are the local staff and volunteers who deliver the program on-the-ground, often under difficult circumstances given the lack of stability in this region. We work with people like Machozi Mizaba, a local nurse who tirelessly visits more than 100 villagers every single month. During her visits, she discusses the importance and benefits of maternal health and contraception while keeping tabs on the general attitudes towards these topics. Often with a child strapped to her back, Machozi rides her bike from village to village, rain or shine, over bumpy roads and through forests, to ensure that families get the care and education they need to make life choices that will keep them healthy.
Machozi, a local volunteer who helps deliver reproductive health and family planning education programs.
We also work with people like Robert and Zozo, trained nurses who, in addition to their education duties, organize elaborate theatrical productions that attract as many as 800 people. Their efforts raise awareness about family planning, in part by removing the stigma attached to discussions about spacing births and contraception. A typical performance depicts a father struggling to feed his large family before receiving advice from a doctor about the advantages of contraception and family planning. Both Robert and Zozo tell us that men have become increasingly willing to talk about, and embrace, various family planning methods with their wives and health care workers.
Local volunteers, Zozo and Robert give Desiré, a project manager for JGI DRC, an update
Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.
Projet réalisé avec l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada agissant par l’entremise d’Affaires mondiales Canada.