Field Placement: Health Communication Partnership (HCP) Location: Kampala, Uganda Preceptor: Student Name: Star Banks Year: 2008 From June to September 2008, I conducted my field studies requirement in Kampala, Uganda at the Health Communication Partnership (HCP). I was placed in a project that HCP gives technical assistance to as well as funds (through USAID and PEPFAR) called Young Empowered and Healthy (YEAH). The YEAH initiative aims to reduce HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy rates among Ugandan youth 15-24 years old. They utilize entertainment education to reach youth and initiate changes in knowledge, attitude, and behavior that will reduce their vulnerability to HIV and early pregnancy. Various communication channels are used to disseminate the messages of YEAH, most notably a radio serial drama entitled Rock Point 256. Further, YEAH produces posters, comic books, and DVDs that are used by partnering organizations to spark dialogue among in- and out-of-school youth during interpersonal activities. During my 10-week internship, the opportunities afforded to me far exceeded my initial expectations. As part of my scope of work, I was asked to plan and facilitate a weeklong workshop with the goal of developing concepts and illustration ideas for materials for a new campaign targeting young men. This included mobilizing participants and four focus groups, preparing creative briefs and communication strategies, leading workshop activities, and conducting follow-up meetings to finalize materials. I also took on a supervisory role for monitoring the activities of our 15 partnering community-based organizations in the Kampala region that utilize YEAH materials and messages. The assignment allowed me to travel all over the Kampala region inquiring about partnering organizations’ successes, challenges, and future plans. The goal of the monitoring was to improve reporting methods as well as strengthen the relationship between YEAH and local partners. Furthermore, I was given the opportunity to contribute to the scripting and theoretical base of the Rock Point 256 serial drama and comic books; participate in a strategy workshop as well as a work planning and budgeting workshop; plan and develop materials for the “The Rocks”, a Rock Point 256 awards ceremony; exhibit YEAH materials during World Population Day 2008; and write and edit several quarterly reports. Working with YEAH greatly increased my understanding of the materials development process, funding and partnering relationships, organizational structures, and program planning. Additionally, I realized how difficult it is to challenge the social and cultural norms surrounding reproductive health and sexuality in Uganda, which is integral to reducing HIV prevalence rates. Most importantly, however, the experience allowed me to experience the rewards and challenges of working in a developing country and specifically, Sub-Saharan Africa. Field Placement: Health Communication Partnership Zambia Location: Lusaka, Zambia Preceptor: Uttara Bharath Kumar Student Name: Elissa Bradley Year: 2007 Health Communication Partnership Zambia (HCP) is a five-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development. It is overseen by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs. The majority of this field studies project took place at the HCP office in the Zambian capitol city of Lusaka. Work was conducted under the supervision of Uttara Bharath Kumar, Deputy Chief of Party of HCP Zambia. Work on this project began in September of 2007 and ended in April of 2008. The field work included researching, developing, and communicating health messages to Zambians living in both rural settings and copper-mining cities. This is the bulk of what HCP Zambia aims to do. I have been involved in researching and writing a concept paper intended for the Zambia National AIDS Council on multiple concurrent sexual partnerships and their role in HIV transmission among Zambians. I helped organize and carry out a two-day conference on the roll out of a national pediatric antiretroviral therapy program for HIVpositive or HIV-exposed youth, which brought together Zambian community leaders, Zambian and international health experts, and behavior change communication strategists. I also helped organize and facilitate the launch events associated with “Our Family, Our Choice”, a film about HIV-positive individuals and family planning that follows three real Zambian couples through the family-planning process. Skills gained include: the ability to foster community collaboration to help develop and harmonize health messages; research skills, particularly in Sub-Saharan African health issues and policies; writing and editing of proposals and other documents; and working on health communication and promotion in a new setting in a developing country. I also represented HCP at numerous meetings, events, and conferences. I communicated HCP work to representatives of the National AIDS Council and to both health care and general communities. After returning to UCLA after about eight weeks of work in Zambia, I followed through on some of the projects I worked on while there via email.
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