Friday the 13th was very inspiring and successful day for community health workers from 3 nutrition centers in Kwale region, coordinated by a team of field workers from Trnava University. After a 3-month course, called ‘Computer basics’ CHWs learned new IT skills and received certificates that can help them in the future.
In May 2013, very experienced and skill-full programmer, ICT trainer and photographer from Slovakia: Paul Markovic decided to spend five months in Kenya as a development volunteer. His task (as a part of project of Trnava University, Slovakia) was to increase computer literacy among the local people from the coast of Kenya – through ICT lectures and IT workshops.
For Community health workers (CHWs) who have never been behind the computer it was a huge challenge – to catch computer basics in just 3 months. Because of not having own computer at home CHWs had to practise learned skills and knowledge at work – in nutrition centers in Kwale district, established by Trnava University thanks to development project, financed by Slovak Aid.
IT expert: Paul Markovic was teaching 3 groups of people (in age of 30 to 50 years old – from Kwale, Tiwi and Mkongani) how to work with MS Office/OpenOffice. He also provided them with information about new media, mass-media communication, security and data protection on the Internet. Local community had lacked such skills. But in early September these trained and motivated community health workers were able to find the word ‘malnutrition’ in Google, they created e-mail addresses for their nutrition centers and sent first messages.
On 13 September, twelve the most successful CHWs who have completed all seven modules of computer course, received IT certificates. During the graduation ceremony in Kwale health resource center: Slovak field workers (Dr. Bozena Baluchova and Mr. Michal Miadok), project manager (Dr. Juraj Jancovic) and IT trainer itself (Mr. Paul Markovic) wished them good luck and success in their future work.
Mr. Paul Markovic explained – why it is important to train local Kenyan people to operate the computer: “Work with computers is now one of the most required skills on labour-market (also in Africa). So there is no doubt that my students with IT skills and certificates will have an advantage in the future.” Project manager: Dr. Jancovic from Trnava University added: “It will be also very helpful for existing Slovak-Kenyan project, called ‘Social and health care for malnourished children under 5 years and their mothers in the Kwale region’. One of the project’s goals was focused on the collection, digitalization and evaluation of data on malnutrition topic in the coastal area. Our CHWs already know how to transfer the data from paper version of Data entry forms into electronic forms. This is important for future cooperation and new development projects of Slovakia in Kenya…” After the Slovak team of field workers from Trnava University will return back home, CHWs would be able to work on data collection on nutrition and malnutrition topic – so the communication and cooperation between local partner: Kwale district hospital and Trnava University will continue.
Written by: Dr. Bozena Baluchova (development field worker of Trnava University in Kenya), Photo: Palo Markovic (development volunteer & IT trainer in Kenya)