Mabelle Arole Fellow, Anirudh Kumar has been working with CRHP for the last couple of months, and has spent much of that time alongside our Mobile Health Team. Here he writes about his experiences working as a facilitator during their recent training sessions.
The Mobile Health Team (MHT) is the bridge between the community and the CRHP campus. In brief, the MHT is responsible for supporting VHWs in the field, providing a secondary health infrastructure, mobilizing villagers to act, and connecting those villagers to resources and government schemes. The MHT’s broad range of functions necessitates complete cohesion and constant revision and refinement of skills.
To that end, CRHP are currently conducting a month of Team and Skill Building Seminars for the MHT with each two-hour seminar featuring a marquee activity that is designed to bring the team closer together, or add to the members’ repertoire of skills. One such example is the “River of Life” activity which has allowed members to share their life stories in a safe space. The exercise has been invaluable in helping to break down hierarchy with younger and older members joining together to discuss the similar triumphs and sorrows that they have shared in life. I was particularly moved when I heard about one member’s struggle with poverty, and another’s fight against HIV. Sharing such moments of vulnerability has clearly brought the whole team much closer together.
The Public Speaking & Debate seminars, meanwhile, have bolstered the confidence of the MHT members and have enabled them to articulate cogently, and argue persuasively. Given the broad range of public speaking skill level amongst the MHT, the seminars were initially difficult to coordinate. As a facilitator, my job has been to make sure that each member is able to participate equally and get as much as they could out of the session. Many of the more experienced speakers would try to dominate (especially during the debate) but after my repeated insistence that each member have an equal opportunity to participate, the more dominant members stepped back a bit. It was particularly gratifying to see a member with anxiety, and little public speaking experience, gain the confidence to debate his peers.
To see dramatic improvement even in the course of one seminar through 2-3 impromptu speeches was great. Another highlight was to see members giving each other constructive criticism after each speech. It was good to see the older members, who weren’t used to being given critiques by younger members, relent and realize that they had room to improve.
The MHT has much to look forward to as we near the halfway point in the seminar series including a team engineering competition, English seminars, and technical skills seminars (typing, Internet, etc.). It is our hope that the MHT emerges from this initiative empowered and better prepared to serve the communities of Jamkhed.