By the Brahmaputra (January – March 2020)

C-NES Newsletter (Vol: 49)
(For the quarter January- March 2020)

Knowledge Fair

Laura Simms, a New York-based award-winning performer, writer, and educator advocating storytelling as compassionate action for personal and community transformation was the resource person at  a  Knowledge Fair  sponsored by US-based TAOS Institute  for the ongoing SALT project supported by Constellation on 5th February 2020, at Ginger Hotel, Guwahati, Assam. Laura performs, teaches, coaches, and gives keynote addresses worldwide. Since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she has devoted herself to training health workers and educators to use narrative in healing.

C-NES, Voluntary Health Association of Assam (VHAA), and Constellation jointly organized the Fair where community facilitators and champions of 30 SALT intervened villages from 3 districts of Assam (Bongaigaon, Kamrup rural and Udalguri) came together to share success stories and experiences. In this context, it was better health of their children through immunization,  education, safe drinking water, proper nutrition, sanitation, clean environment, and also how communities took steps through action plan after self-assessment following the Community Life Competence Process (CLCP). Schools and school management committees have taken ownership of the health of children using Constellation’s SALT approach and the CLCP- cleaning up the school, installing water filters, getting school dropouts back in school, improving grades of children and planting trees and fathers and grandparents being involved in taking responsibility to take their children for immunization.

Group discussions were held where experiences were shared and moderated by Laura and  Rituu Nanda from Constellation, the Share Facilitator. National NGOs like MAMTA, CHAI, RIC for Public Health Innovation, CIHSR Dimapur, and Piramal Swasthya also participated and shared their experiences. On the second day, a field trip to the SALT intervened Hiragata village in Kamrup district was organized where Dr. Nayanjeet Choudhury, Senior Technical Adviser, Medtronic Foundation joined in.

It needs mention that Constellation, a registered not for profit organization with its head office in Belgium through their Indian partner Samraksha has been working with C-NES and VHAA from February 2017 on common issues with the SALT ( Stimulate, Appreciate, Learn and Transfer) approach of community engagement. The SALT approach of community engagement initiated by Constellation has been widely appreciated and used by different organizations globally.


Excellence Healthcare Award

Programme Manager Ashok Rao and Communications Officer Bhaswati Goswami receiving the trophy and the citation from the Assam Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Pijush Janti Hazarika

It was a proud moment for C-NES and the Boat Clinics when the organization was awarded the  Healthcare Excellence Award 2020 in the category” Excellence in Outreach Healthcare” on 27th February  2020,  at  a function held at Guwahati’s Radisson Blu Hotel. Programme Manager Ashok Rao and Communications Officer Bhaswati Goswami received the trophy and the citation on behalf of the organization from the Assam Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Pijush  Janti Hazarika. The Award was part of the News 18 Network for outstanding contribution to the healthcare sector of Assam. Dr C R Hira, Technical Consultant and Manik Boruah, Associate Programme  were also present at the event.


Media Coverage: A Medical Journey

A documentary on the Boat Clinics part of the Singapore based series called “A Medical Journey” has been released. The series is about healthcare delivery in different milieus – each representing a unique challenge and offering valuable insight into the communities and spaces that they work in. The series is for Channel U, part of the Mediacorp Network, Singapore produced by August Pictures Pvt Ltd.

The 45 minutes long Boat Clinic episode introduces an insight into the ecosystem & lives of island dwellers along the Brahmaputra and how the Boat Clinics have fast emerged as a lifeline for them. At the same time, they have also tried to look beyond, and see what it takes to get a clinic such as this up and running. The shooting was done in the Dibrugarh and Sonitpur Boat Clinic Units during the 2019 summer.


Radio of the Year Award

On the occasion of World Radio Day 2020, Brahmaputra Community Radio Station (BCRS) or Radio Brahmaputra as it is commonly known, was awarded the Community Radio of the year at the 6th International Radio Fair at Bhubaneswar by the Minister of Revenue & Disaster Management of Odisha Government, Sudam Marndi.  Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Minister (MOS, Ind. Charge) of Tourism, Odia Language, Literature & Culture of Odisha Government, Tanaya Patnaik, Executive Director of Kanak News and Radio Choklate, RJ Kartik from Radio Choklate,  Subrat Kumar Pati, Convener of 6th International Radio Fair were also present at the event. Coordinator of the station  Bhaskar Jyoti Bhuyan, received the award on behalf of Team BCRS.

It needs to mention that Radio Brahmaputra also won the Manthan Award South Asia and Asia Pacific in December 2014 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. What is remarkable about the station is that the entire team led by coordinator Bhaskar Bhuyan did not have any previous training in journalism but developed as reporters through training after the idea of the station took shape. Radio Brahmaputra is based at Dibrugarh, very close to where the mighty river flows by at Maijan ghat. The station is unique in the sense that it caters to the needs and aspirations of people belonging to as many as five communities residing around the area in as many local languages – Shadri (a dialect of the tea tribe community), Assamese, Bhojpuri, Bodo, and Mishing. While BCRS seeks to reach the most marginalised groups in 14 islands and 30 tea plantations and more than 180 villages in Dibrugarh district, its footprint reaches across the Brahmaputra to other districts as well. From 24th February 2020 the radio is on air 24 x 7. The station started with initial support from UNICEF and like other C-NES projects and programmes, it is an innovative effort to reach the marginalised and the poor with new ideas, opportunities, giving them a platform to speak and perform in their own voices and access to better lives.

As part of Radio Brahmaputra’s community intervention on girls education, adolescent health, early marriage and access to the core issues of society, the BCRS conducted a series of community outreach programmes in various tea gardens in Dibrugarh in January 2020. Seen here as part of this intervention, on January 18th, 2020 a focus group discussion among an adolescent group at Khanikar Tea Estate Purana Line where as many as 18 girls participated and tried to find out issues related to school dropouts of their locality. Out of the 18, 2 have left school in class 6 and class 4, one due to ear infection and the other due to family issues.

C-NES Participates in EvalFest

Monjur H.Mondal(sitting third from right)District Programme Officer,Bongaigaon Boat Clinic at the EvalFest as panelist in the technical session

Monjur H.Mondal, District Programme Officer, Bongaigaon Boat Clinic participated at the EvalFest held in New Delhi on February 13, 2020. Mondol was the panelist in the technical session. The event organized by Evaluation Committee of India (ECOI) at India Habitat Centre.

EvalFest aims to identify the potential strategies to improve evaluative thinking and build evaluation use among the key stakeholders of social change initiatives.

Mondol presented the SALT (S-Stimulate, A-Appreciate, L-learn/listen, and T-transfer) approach of community engagement and ownership process as part of a C-NES ongoing project. The communities apply CLCP (dream building, self-assessment, action plan, and action taken) cycle, which is a form of effective learning to address issues and challenges and accordingly takes action. There are 30 villages in Bongaigaon district who have adopted this approach to improve immunization coverage in their respective villages.


From The Field:

Family Planning Initiatives  

After sustained motivation the health teams in all boat clinic districts have been able to bring in some change in these communities where family planning has religious taboos. During December 2019, the Barpeta Boat Clinic Unit I successfully motivated six beneficiaries to undergo NSV. A photograph of the local ASHA workers (the key link between the community and the health workers) with the beneficiaries after successful completion of the NSV (non scalpel vasectomy) camp at Alopoti RPHC on December 2, 2020
In December 2019, the Barpeta Boat Clinic Unit-II initiated a successful NSV week as part of family planning measures. 11 NSVs were done. From the Aligaon NC and Rowmari char villages the health team brought the beneficiaries by autorickshaws, then hiring small boat and finally taking them in 108 mobile health service

From the Jorhat Boat Clinic 

The Jorhat Boat Clinic Unit celebrated the 71st Republic Day of India onboard Boat Clinic SB Nahor on   January 26, 2020.
ANM nurse observing an infant at Jorhat’s Kachikata island village
Immunizing drop out children and infants after ANM conducts door to door visits at Jorhat’s Kathsapori island village
Intensified Pulse Polio Immunization (IPPI) camps were conducted by the Jorhat Boat Clinic team at Kartik sapori, Mekahi sapori, Bhekeli 1, Bhekeli 2, Bhekeli 3 and Sadhu sapori from 19th January to 21st January 2020 where l 271 children were immunized. Polio vaccines were given on booth camps and home visit sessions. The photograph shows an IPPI Camp at Sadhu sapori

From the Dhemaji Boat Clinic

Health workers from the Dhemaji Boat Clinic on the way to Koilawali village for conducting a camp.
Health Camp at Dhemaji’s Pakhoriguri village
Health cam at Dhemaji’s Bogoriguri village

Visitors

The German Consul General, Kolkata Dr Michael Feiner, visited the C-NES regional office on 7th January 2020 and had an interaction with members of the Programme Management Unit. (From left) Ashok Rao, Programme Manager, Dr Milan Barooah, Special Adviser, Technical(Health), Bhaswati Goswami, Communications Officer, Dr Feiner, Dr CR Hira, Technical Consultant and Manik Ch Boruah, Associate Programme Manager after the meeting
Levi Vanderaerden, a Belgian filmmaker with journalist Chandrani Sinha at the regional
office on 5th March 2020. The filmmaker would make a documentary about climate change on the river islands of the Brahmaputra locally called the chars in lower Assam and saporis in upper Assam and all its effects. The film would also look at how the boat clinics works and how the health teams handle major health issues the people are facing. The visitors are seen with Ashok Rao, Programme Manager, Bhaswati Goswami, Communications Officer, Dr CR Hira, Technical Consultant and Dr Milan Barooah, Special Advisor, Health, C-NES.

Review meet

Chairman C-NES Board of Trustees, Mr. G.K.Pillai and Managing Trustee Sanjoy Hazarika had a meeting with the DPOs of the Boat Clinic teams on 11th February 2020 at Guwahati’s Ginger Hotel. The Boat Clinic units made short presentation of their work and the performances of each unit reviewed. Members of C-NES’PMU including Dr CR Hira, Technical Consultant and Dr Milan Barooah, Special Advisor, Health, C-NES were present.

Chairman, C-NES Board of Trustees and former Union Home Secretary, GK Pillai, Trustee, Patricia Mukhim, Editor, Shillong Times, Managing Trustee Sanjoy Hazarika, also International Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Advisor Health, Dr Milan Barooah with members of the Programme Management Unit(PMU) Dr CR Hira, Technical Consultant, Ashok Rao, Programme Manager, Manik Boruah, Associate Programme Manager and Bhaswati Goswami, Communications Officer at a Trust Meeting with PMU at the Guwahati Address Hotel, Guwahati on 12th February, 2020.

Prepared by Bhaswati Khaund Goswami

Communications Officer,C-NES

Send feedback to: bhaswatigoswami@yahoo.co.in

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