1. The Pulse
Peace Corps Senegal | Health | January 2014 | Volume 1 Issue 2
03 Where are the Nets?
/ Sarah Legare
05 Senegal Does Bugs:
Entomology in the Peace Corps
/ Sarah Legare and Rita Weiss
07 The Malnutrition Beast
The Pulse is a quarterly health
sector newsletter published by
volunteers of Peace Corps Senegal.
All articles published in The Pulse
are the sole view of their authors
and do not represent the views of
the United States Government or
the Peace Corps.
/ Katie Richards
07 Recent Nutrition Trainings
/ Katie Richards
09 Building a Poste de Santé, and
Front Cover Photo: Family eating
nutritional porridge, by Katie
Notes on Project Planning
/ Venchele Saint-Dic
Contents Photo: Unloading bed nets
in Kolda, by Courtney Ruble
11 Calendar of Events
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3. Where are the Nets? / Sarah Legare
It can be tough to keep track of mosquito net distributions, how they work, and where to get nets, especially
when plans change and rumors fly. For those reasons, here’s an update on the net situation. There are
currently four channels for the distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets.
Why: Malaria risk for the whole population goes way
1. UNIVERSAL COVERAGE
down when everyone sleeps under a net every night!
How: These campaigns involve a census of every
household, double-check of the census results, a few
days of giving out nets, follow-up home visits, and
education and media events. The whole process
usually lasts a few months.
2. HEALTH STRUCTURES
How: Pregnant women who go in for a prenatal visit
can receive a net for free. When someone goes to a
health structure for a consultation of any kind, they
can purchase a net for 500cfa.
What: Ideally, Universal Coverage will provide a bed
net for every sleeping space in the country. This may
mean that several people share the same net, but it
includes mats laid out on the floor for kids or
anywhere else that people regularly sleep.
What: This channel is designed to keep nets moving
out to those who need them between Universal
When & Where: From 2008 - 2012, the whole country
When & Where: If the health structure has nets in
was covered via this process, and we’re in the midst
of round 2. It started in Kedougou in 2013, Kolda just
received nets, and the regions of Tambacounda,
Sedhiou, Kaffrine, Kaolack, Diourbel, and Fatick are
tentatively scheduled for 2014. The rest of the
country has yet to go on the schedule, but should be
completed in 2015 pending resource availability and
no major strategy changes.
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stock, they should be available to any person at any
time across Senegal. While pregnant women may be
offered a net, everyone else needs to ask!
Why: Pregnant women are at high risk for malaria, so
it’s especially important that they sleep under nets
every night. People may also need more nets than are
provided by Universal Coverage, or to replace
4. 3. COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS AND
organizations in charge of administering water
sources will be able to sell nets to migrants who pass
through to water their livestock.
How: Interested organizations and businesses are
selected by local administrators to sell bed nets for
500cfa to anyone who wants to buy one.
What: For areas that are far from health structures or
select classes at elementary schools. This year, kids in
each of 2 grade levels were given nets.
How: Nets are given for free to children enrolled in
as a backup when other sources are out of stock, this
channel spreads the availability of nets beyond health
What: This channel is designed to get nets to kids and
to educate them about malaria prevention.
When & Where: Select businesses are selling nets
throughout the country, and community-based
organizations in the Louga and Ziguinchor regions.
2013 was a test for this channel, and it is expected to
be expanded this year.
When & Where: As with community-based
Why: The stock of bed nets available in health
Why: Like pregnant women, children are at higher
organizations, the school channel was piloted in 2013
in Louga and Ziguinchor and should be expanded in
2014 and 2015.
structures is sometimes not enough to provide for
everyone in need, and expecting everyone who needs
a net to go to a health structure for a consultation
may not be realistic. In addition, through this channel,
risk of malaria and its complications, so making sure
they’re protected with bed nets is a priority. Bringing
nets to schools is also an opportunity to educate
Sarah Legare is the Malaria Coordinator in Dakar. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional
malaria resources, visit the Stomp Out Malaria website at http://stompoutmalaria.org/ and the Google Drive
folder at http://tinyurl.com/malaria-initiative. Or, contact your local Malaria Boot Camp graduates, Health
APCD Mamadou Diaw, or Country Director Chris Hedrick!
Photos: Bed net distribution in Kolda by PCV Courtney Ruble.
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5. Senegal Does Bugs: Entomology in the Peace Corps / Sarah Legare and Rita Weiss
Have you seen mysterious vials in your regional house lately? If so,
they’re probably filled with mosquitoes that a fellow PCV has captured
and is sending to Dakar to be analyzed in a lab. In a ground-breaking
partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
President’s Malaria Initiative, University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in
Dakar, and the Section Lutte Anti-Parasite (SLAP), Senegal PCVs are the
feet on the ground for some great research.
While there is already some data on how many and which types of
mosquitoes are buzzing around Senegal, it’s been a long time since
officials had a complete picture. Knowing more about local mosquitos
helps us to fight malaria more efficiently. With the help of PCVs,
researchers and administrators will be able to tell how many mosquitos
could potentially be carrying malaria, how many actually are, and
whether insecticide resistance exists in their population. Fourteen PCVs,
trained last June, are now collecting mosquitoes from huts in their
villages every month and sending them to a vector parasite lab at
Third-year PCV Rita Weiss works in the UCAD lab alongside faculty, staff,
and students. Rita started full-time at the lab in November as a data
manager to help organize, explain, and publish research. The
opportunity to partner with the CDC and University attracted Rita to the
position, and she’s excited to dive in to the work. “I hope to work with
statisticians and entomologists locally and remotely to help improve the
organization and presentation of data in the entomology lab,” she says.
So far, she’s been setting up a server for data sharing, analyzing data,
and helping with mosquito larvae mapping in Dakar’s suburbs. After
organizing the data, Rita can calculate statistics like density of
mosquitoes per night per person, or she can find out where the highest
malaria risk exists. In the coming months, she’ll be headed out to the
field. Researchers from the lab regularly visit field laboratories in
Richard Toll, Velingara, Nioro, Guinguineo, Kolda, Kaffrine,
Koumpentoum, Koungheul, and MalemHodar, which each has different
experiments running. Rita is also looking forward to becoming a
resource for PC Senegal and all of you. If you’ve got questions, give her
While Peace Corps’ participation in this research is new, the research
itself has been going on for several years. UCAD is West Africa’s oldest
university and is internationally renowned as one of the top research
institutions in the region. Its student body comprises 60,000 students
from all over the world. It maintains two teaching hospitals and
partnerships with numerous institutions, including the Pasteur Institute,
which does molecular testing for the entomology lab.
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Photo 1: PCVs identify mosquito
larvae in Thiès with Dr. Ngayo Sy of
Photo 2: PCVs learn about
capturing and identifying
mosquitos from Moussa Diagne of
SLAP during a training in Thies in
Photo 3: Dr. Ngayo Sy shows
mosquito habitats at SLAP to
6. In 2006, the CDC partnered with UCAD and the Senegalese government in the national fight against malaria,
and has been supporting the nation’s entomology research ever since. Although there is one CDC advisor in
Senegal, most coordination is done through their headquarters in Atlanta. A few times a year, CDC entomologist
Dr. Ellen Dotson visits Senegal and follows up on local research and initiatives. During her last trip in October,
she coordinated with UCAD’s field and lab researchers and also took a 5-day tour to PCVs’ mosquito collection
sites. Her tour included visits to Bambey, Tamba, Kaffrine, Kaolack, Fatick, and Kebemer. She didn’t have time to
visit everyone involved, but for those she did see, she brought supplies and support for the work.
All the PCVs involved in the entomology project are now part of a network connecting them to high-level
initiatives and research led by the CDC. Senegal is the first Peace Corps program to participate in a partnership
like this, and it has the potential to change the way that agencies like the CDC are able to access information,
opening doors to areas where PCVs live that would otherwise be too remote to visit.
There will be another training planned in the coming months for PCVs interested in participating. A big thank
you and congratulations to all the PCVs already involved!
Sarah Legare is the Malaria Coordinator in Dakar. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Rita Weiss is a Malaria Entomology Lab Data Manager in Dakar. She can be contacted
Photos: SLAP training in Thies June 2013, by Sarah Legare.
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7. The Malnutrition Beast / Katie Richards
RECENT NUTRITION TRAININGS
Transitioning from the rainy season into the cool season
represents a particularly prosperous time in Senegal. Farmers have
recently harvested their grains (millet, peanuts, sorghum, beans,
rice, fonio, etc.) and gardeners are benefiting from the cooler days
that translate into a few less watering cans in order to produce
successful vegetable crops. However, despite this seasonal
prosperity, malnutrition still represents a significant problem in
Senegal – as many might notice from a lack of produce in their
lunch bowls. Between 2012 and 2013, it was estimated that 19% of
children in Senegal under the age of five suffer from growth
retardation due to malnutrition and about 6% suffer from severe
malnutrition. Worldwide each year, five million deaths are
attributed to malnutrition, including 61% of diarrhea deaths and
57% of malaria deaths.
As a sustainable agriculture volunteer working alongside
community gardens and the Master Farm within my village, I
admittedly struggled with incorporating nutrition into my
extension work. It only seemed intuitive, however, that nutrition
and agriculture should be taught hand-in-hand. Everything our
bodies require, from vegetables to meat, depends directly on
healthy soil. So, why did I struggle to incorporate nutrition in my
work? Malnutrition seemed too gargantuan a topic to tackle. How
could I possibly teach villagers about these tiny things called
vitamins and minerals, and the impact they have on the body?
How could I possibly persuade them to eat the crops of their
gardens or fields, when selling them for a brand new Tabaski outfit
was so much more appealing?
But that is exactly the point…we, as Peace Corps Volunteers,
cannot and should not think of tackling the looming beast, but
should instead consider clipping the beast’s sharp nails. We should
consider small actions that will have an eventual impact on the
beast that is malnutrition.
With this realization I found my motivation to extend for a third
year working in nutrition programming with Peace Corps Senegal.
We need to make the topic of malnutrition easy to approach from
the volunteer perspective. As we integrate ourselves into our
communities, we sit and drink tea for hours, we help with cooking
and childcare, and we observe existing nutrition behaviors and
obstacles within our communities. From our observations and
research, we can take small steps and extend messages. We can
help to incorporate bissap sauce into the rice bowl more
frequently, or promote the nutritional value of traditional milletbased foods as opposed to the coveted rice, or demonstrate
intercropping multiple vegetables into a small garden bed within
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This past September 2013, Peace Corps
Senegal hosted a nutrition training in
Toubacouta for Master Farmers, health
counterparts, and volunteers from the
Kaolack region of Senegal (also called
the “peanut basin” after its staple cash
crop). The training introduced its
participants to the importance of
proper nutrition and methods for
promoting good nutrition through
farming and gardening activities.
Participants and training facilitators
discussed early childhood nutrition and
maternal nutrition as well as
malnutrition and its symptoms. The
training highlighted the influence of
field and gardening work on nutrition,
including approaches such as crop
diversification and the incorporation of
multiple fruit tree species in a field.
Overall, thirteen Master Farmers,
thirteen health counterparts, and ten
PCVs came away with concrete action
plans to improve nutrition in their local
These nutrition trainings will be
extended to the northern and southern
regions of Senegal in February and
March. We hope to continue to
improve the training model and invite
discussion to strengthen collaboration
between the health and agriculture
sectors. We envision these trainings
including demonstrations of multiple
agricultural techniques (e.g.
intercropping multiple crops in a small
garden bed) to health workers, and
education for farmers about child and
adult nutrition. We hope that this
training will encourage health workers
and agriculture experts to improve
nutrition in their communities through
simple messages and collaborative
8. So, in your next organized training, open field day, garden project, women’s group meeting, or even in your
family compound, consider how a small message about nutrition might be incorporated. An estimated one out
of every ten children in Senegal suffers from moderate or severe growth retardation due to malnutrition.
During this season especially, families have options and variety that should be taken advantage of.
If you would like to be more involved in nutrition work, consider applying to the nutrition trainings tailored to
introducing the connection between nutrition and agriculture to both volunteers as well as our local
counterparts. In addition, consider checking out the nutrition drive (a part of the Google drive) that can provide
you with basic information on nutrition as well as ideas for extending that information to a variety of
Katie Richards is the Nutrition Capacity Building Coordinator in Dakar. She can be contacted
Photo: A family eating nutritional porridge, by Katie Richards.
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9. Building a Poste de Santé / Venchele Saint-Dic
When I first arrived in Dassilame Soce a year ago, I
recognized a pressing need in my community for a
new and equipped poste de santé. The village is
located in the Toubacouta zone and has an estimated
population of 1240 habitants. After conquering my
fear of the transition to an environment different
than my own, I was eager to start working on
potential health projects. My task as a Peace Corps
volunteer seemed elusive until I began an assessment
of the key community members’ roles in my village.
Obviously, I did not know where to start, but I was
confident that forming relationships with these
influential leaders was the best way to begin my
One day my ASC informed me of a conference on
education and environment in Djinack Bara, in the
Saloum islands of Toubacouta, which was going to
take place on June 16-17th. I had completed one
month in my service and decided to take a leap of
faith because I thought this would be a great
networking opportunity. Many administrative
authorities, religious leaders and village chiefs
attended the event. I had the opportunity to meet
the coordinator of a European NGO who had built a
poste de santé and a school on the island. After
several negotiations over the next two months, I
made a compelling argument of the benefits they
would gain from including my community in their
projects. For example, I knew that this NGO wanted
to establish its name in the broader Senegalese
community, but its projects were confined to the
islands and lacked visibility – this was one of the
details I used to build the case for a poste de santé in
As part of my integration routine over my first three
months, I began to introduce myself to the influential
individuals in the three villages covered by the case
de santé. I made a poster identifying their roles in
their communities, so that I could ask the appropriate
people for assistance when I had questions. I visited
the case de santé every other day so I could make
observations of the needs of my community. After
holding several meetings with the health committee
and the village, I began developing action plans for
making our projects sustainable. These meetings,
along with my observations, confirmed that my
community needed a new poste de santé. I also
researched and inquired about NGOs with my APCD
so that I could gain insights on the organizations that
intervene in my region.
The project was finally approved in July 2012 and
construction began in October 2012. During the
whole process, meetings were held with the village to
explain their contributions to the project in bringing
sand and water for the construction. We are about to
paint the building for its inauguration in the next few
months. This will be followed by the training of the
new matrones, the installment of medical equipment,
and the monitoring and evaluation of the project.
Photos: Former health hut (left) and new poste de santé (right) from Venchele’s blog (see byline for URL).
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10. VENCHELE’S NOTES ON PROJECT PLANNING
Building relationships is key . It is important to build relationships with the influential members of your
community. This can be done by having meetings with them or by drinking tea with them, and you can get a
general idea of the person’s commitment to your cause. It is equally important to keep local authorities aware
of your activities. The local authorities often interact with donor partners or NGOs intervening in your region. It
further boosts your PCV credibility and engages the community members in the design, planning and decisionmaking process of your projects.
Do your research. Prior to holding meetings with NGOs, ask your APCD whether he has information on
organizations who work in your region. He may not know but he can guide you to resources. Find out on the
NGO’s website whether the organization’s objectives match your community’s goals for your projects. Even if
their goals are slightly different, there likely exists some common ground. All in all, you aim to create a
favorable outcome for both parties.
Language proficiency is not necessary. Although the language barrier and translation can be tough to deal with
during the first few months of service, you can use someone you work with, such as your counterpart or a
friend, to act as a facilitator in meetings. This shows community involvement and ensures that all parties are
on the same page to create sustainable projects.
Draft a compelling argument. Try to come up with at least five reasons this organization should include your
village in their projects. Think in terms of what makes your situation unique and the benefits they can gain from
the collaboration (e.g. increasing their presence). One book which could be helpful in this process is called How
to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Attend community events. You can stay in the loop of these events by talking to the local authorities in your
region. It is an added benefit to talk to them every three to six months to give them an update of the activities
you are undertaking in your community. If not possible, sending them an email about these updates can turn
out to be advantageous in future initiatives.
Be clear about your role as a PCV. For any construction projects, make sure that the community handles financial
logistics with the coordinator of the NGO. This also means allowing the community to select masons who will be
responsible for the construction. If this isn’t done from the beginning, it might create uncomfortable dynamics
with your community. Financial matters rest in the hands of the NGO.
Community Involvement. Engage your community as much as possible in the planning and designing of your
projects. I find it best to wait to inform community members in a meeting about a project until it has been
finalized with the NGO. This will hopefully result in your developing sustainable projects. As a sidenote, NGOs
are impressed when you can show that your community was involved in the decision-making process of your
Venchele Saint-Dic is a Preventative Health Educator in Dassilame Soce, Toubacouta Zone, Fatick Region.
Venchele is happy to assist volunteers in developing sustainable projects even after the end of her service:
contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her blog at http://venchelepeacecorpshealth.blogspot.com/.
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11. [Calendar of Events]
January 15 – April 15
Martin Luther King Day (Peace Corps Office closed)
January 28 – February 9
Malaria Boot Camp (Sarah Legare)
Northern Summit, Linguère (Gordon Day)
February 2 – 4
Monitoring and Reporting Training, Thiès (Vanessa Dickey)
February 3 – 7
West Africa Beekeeping Training, The Gambia (contact your APCD)
February 5 – 7
Health and CED COS Conference, Thiès (Vanessa Dickey)
February 7 – 9
Kolda Regional Fair (Lauren Seibert)
February 8 – 12
Work Zone Coordinator Training and Plan Presentations, Thiès
(Zoe Williams, Chris Hedrick)
February 10 – 12
Peer Support Network Training, Thiès (Marsha Hedrick)
February 11 – 12
SeneGAD conference, Thiès (Annie Bigwood)
February 13 – 14
All Volunteer Conference, Thiès (Vanessa Dickey)
February 15 – 17
West Africa Intramural Softball Tournament, Dakar (Whitney Jenkins)
Presidents’ Day (Peace Corps Office closed)
February 24 – 26
Nutrition Agriculture Training in Tambacounda (Katie Richards)
February 24 – 28
Grassroots Soccer Skillz Girl Training, Thiès
(Sabrina Fortney, Claire Cravero)
March 5 – May 9
Health and CED PST, Thiès (Vanessa Dickey)
Kolda Youth Empowerment Camp (Sophie Danner)
DEADLINE FOR THE PULSE ISSUE 3 SUBMISSIONS
Senegalese Independence Day (Peace Corps Office closed)
Publication date for The Pulse: Issue 3
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12. Peace Corps Senegal
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