Greetings from Piura!
At the beginning of the month, Jaime, myself, and our coordinator Rolando talked with each of the youth health promoters and their parents to stress the importance of committing to this year’s projects. The youth were given the opportunity to participate in filming educational videos, putting together the cocinas mejoradas project, or both. Eight girls committed to contributing to this year’s goals.
One of the objectives is creating educational videos about important health topics, to be passed on to the community. Teaching the girls how to use the video cameras and a computer has been really encouraging and entertaining. When they first started, they were nervous in front of the camera and wouldn’t keep it still while filming. Now they are giving each other direction, getting interesting angles, and asserting themselves when they think they need another take. They help edit, do voiceovers, and search for resources within the community! It’s fantastic! The girls have already completed videos on first aid and proper nutrition and will begin working on an environment video next month.
Of the five that committed to the kitchens project, there are now three girls continuing. These three girls decided that they would like to make a video to introduce the project to the community. They spent a couple weeks filming the materials needed, the progress of the pilot project (which is now running beautifully), and how to receive assistance from MEJORC. Throughout the duration of the project, families will be required to watch this video along with the nutrition video before being able to install their new stove.
Explaining the materials
Before and After
The host family for the pilot project
After the girls finished the video and prepared to present it to the community, Jaime and I assigned them very important jobs which they will hold throughout the next few months. The secretary, Meliza, will be in charge of making sure the interested parties watch the videos before getting their names on the list. She will also keep track of every client’s progress up until completion. Marlis, our representative, will be responsible for explaining the contract to the heads-of-households, obtaining signatures, and receiving payment for the materials. And finally, Karina, the treasurer, will track all the interactions with money as well as purchase materials from Piura. This delegation meeting was on a beautiful day, and the girls were itching to go outside and play. However, as soon as we presented their jobs and their new notebooks, they looked in awe of their new responsibility. They immediately stopped asking about volleyball and involved themselves deeply in learning how the whole process will work. We can talk about the importance of empowering youth but when it is so tangible and real, the feeling is indescribable! I mean, these girls have never been given this much control over a project this large before. It’s really amazing to see what teenage girls can do to achieve such a positive outcome for their community. I am hoping the community keeps this in mind, but after the meeting on Sunday, it’s looking like they will.
The month culminated in a community meeting where the girls presented the videos and the secretary began taking orders. As the video came on the screen, I heard Jaime’s host-mom remark how amazing it was that they weren’t embarrassed anymore. The community responded to the whole meeting really well and we ended up with 7 orders already. I was very pleased to see them taking several questions to Meliza and that she, in turn, responded like any great secretary.
Karina presenting the video (with Fidelina on the screen)
Meliza taking orders
I’m very proud of our youth and I am feeling positive that they will continue to surprise and challenge me. Everyone in San Francisco is very excited about the arrival of Katie and Roberto! Until later, gracias!