At the end of February the Slovak team of junior experts met in Leopard beach resort with the owner of this Kenyan tourist complex: Chris Modigell. It was not a coincidence. Mr. Modigell is already more than a decade Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic in Kenya and this time he decided to financially support the project of Trnava university in Kwale.
Slovak development workers tried to get the information regarding the security of the elections (March 4) form this man who is living and working in Kenya for more than half of his life. Mr. Modigell told two experts from Trnava University that it is in the interest of whole country – not to repeat the post-election violence from 2007/2008. “People are in their homes educated enough about how to vote and how to keep the peace after the announcement of the results – the appointment of a new president, as well as representatives of government or counties.” Modigell loves Kenya and he hopes that the elections’ results will move this beautiful East-African country closer towards realization of Vision 2030.
Slovakia-Kenyan development cooperation
Kenya (together with South Sudan) is one of the priority countries in term of official development assistance (ODA) for Slovakia. Thanks to funding from the state budget (through the support program SlovakAid) there are running interesting projects of effective development cooperation in the this East-African country – provided by NGOs and few Slovak Universities. The main focus is on education, capacity building in community, food security and supporting local farming and health care. Mr. Modigell was interested in the presentation of the project – provided by Trnava University in Kwale district, so Slovak field workers presented to him the progress and successes of this project on the spot. Dr. Zuzana Kralova has been working there for 10 months, I (Dr. Bozena Baluchova) am brand new team member.
Trnava University (especially the Faculty of Health care and Social work) are providing the development activities in the district of Kwale for several years, currently in the project, titled: Social and health care for malnourished children under 5 years and their mothers in the Kwale region, funded by SlovakAid. In the area of Kwale district hospital Slovak team built the main nutritional center in Kwale and supported two rural centers (in Tiwi and Mkongani), which is a great help for the community and which is a way to reduce malnutrition in this over-populated coastal area. Thanks to this project of Trnava University there was also built and furnished the library (with books about nutrition and dealing with malnutrition, community development, health care or medicine’s topic) in Kwale district hospital.
Gift from Honorary Consul – for nutrition center
The most important for the sustainability of the project (after the departure of Slovak development team from Kenya back to Slovakia) – is the capacity building in the local community. Thanks to this project our Slovak experts could train 50 local people. These trained community health workers are now in the nutritional centers in charge of taking care of malnourished children and mothers in the program. They are responsible for their weekly monitoring, distribution of porridge and beans to clients, as well as lectures for mothers (about the right breast-feeding, preparing food, proper nutrition and hygiene). This can help to improve the health of hundreds of mothers and children, but especially to reduce child mortality (which meets at least one of the Millennium Development Goals, which were establish by UN in 2000 and almost two hundred countries committed to achieve them).
Chris Modigell were excited by the progress of this Slovak development project in Kenya. Also for that reason he decided to support the idea and he gave to Slovak experts small donation – the check for 30 000 KSh. This will be most likely used to purchase new books to the project’s library in Kwale district hospital. This is the right place where community health workers, but also the entire hospital staff can learn and work on their skills. Thanks to this activity the education and awareness-raising of malnutrition in the region will continue.
Written by: Dr. Bozena Baluchova (Trnava university’s field worker in Kwale, Kenya)