For a little over 10 years, CRHP has been working in partnership with The Periclean Scholars programme at Elon University. The programme aims to engage students in issues of international development, and in August 2012, having worked on a documentary, the group received an email from the EXPO 2020 consultants in Turkey with an enticing proposal; to be a part of the bidding application for the city of Izmir, Turkey to host the 2020 world EXPO. A little over a year later, the result of this partnership is a brand new training center in Jamkhed. Last week a five man team from the Izmir 2020 team arrived in India, and accompanied by a representative from the Turkish High Commission in Delhi, officially opened the Izmir Training Center.

The Periclean Scholars had been working on the documentary film, “Health for All”, which explores innovations in healthcare delivery in India, such as the Jamkhed model. The theme of the Expo Bid, meanwhile, is “New Routes to a Better World / Health for All”; so the consultants suggested that CRHP join forces and together work toward the common goal of promoting health for all, around the world. The proposal was to let the Expo Bid Committee use footage from the film to help promote their theme, and in return a $100,000 donation would be made to CRHP in order to build a new health training facility and to start an endowment, which will ensure a sustained support for the training program.

Just one year after the original email from Turkey, the İzmir Training Center is a reality. It has two large classrooms with the capacity of 50 students each, and a residential suite with a living/dining room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, which can accommodate up to six trainers or international visitors. Vishnu, the construction manager at CRHP, says the speed with which the building took shape is unprecedented in Jamkhed. And the general impression from everyone at CRHP is that the facility is first rate.

The official opening took place on August 27th , with the unveiling of the cornerstone and the ribbon cutting by Dr. Selim Tokmak – İZMİR EXPO 2020 Vice Secretary General. Other visitors in attendance were Mr. Serkan Gümüş – İZMİR EXPO 2020 Expert, Mr. Adalet Özkan – Film Director, Mr. Harun Kabasakal – Cameraman, Mr. Bora Ozkul from the Turkish Embassy in New Delhi, Mr. Tichnor Charles – Chair of CRHP Board of Trustees, Dr. Martin Kamela – from Elon University, and Dr. Shobha and Mr. Ravi Arole – Directors of CRHP.

The ceremony itself was a wonderful occasion, full of vibrant colour and Maharashtrian dance and songs. The overriding message of the day was the importance of promoting health education and of the positive impact the new training center will have on both the local community, and on grassroots health workers and health professionals from other parts of India and the world. In the audience were village health workers, farmers’ club members, adolescent girls and boys, school children from nearby schools, preschoolers, local families and CRHP staff members. The center will be an invaluable facility for all of these groups.

For the rest of the day the Turkish team focused on videography. Fortunately they were solid professionals and knew exactly what they were doing – at most there were three takes of a given scene. The short film will tell the story of the partnership resulting in the new training center, and will be presented at the final BIE conference this November. That is also the conference where delegates vote on which of the four candidate cities will host the 2020 EXPO, so we will be waiting with anticipation for the announcement.

The visitors left and by all accounts had a very favorable impression of CRHP and the İzmir Training Center. The new training center welcomed its first classes with VHW’s and farmers’ groups. A few days after the official opening an appreciation ceremony was held at the Center to acknowledge the contributions of the construction crew, maintenance staff, and many individuals from various CRHP departments who helped build and finish the new facility. The building was completed on time because of this unified and dedicated effort.

CRHP will now be fundraising to build the next floor of the building, which will contain residential suites for visitors, and provide much needed lodging space to maximize the use of the new training facility. The foundation and ground floor of the İzmir Training Center were designed with this prospect in mind. We look forward to strengthening existing partnerships and forging new ones as this second phase of the İzmir Training Center takes shape.

‘Health for All’ is available to watch online here.

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