Jan 272011

Warm greetings from Puerto Princesa, Palawan!

2011 has gotten off to a great start for Roots of Health and we are all very excited about our plans for the coming year. Here is a sneak preview of our plans for 2011:

Community Health Outreach

Roots of Health will continue our community health outreach work in Pulang Lupa. We will undertake a second round of our 20-week education module for women and girls in the community. We anticipate that a majority of the attendees will be new women who did not attend the initial sessions we conducted as the community has grown by almost a third. Several “old-timers” have also expressed interest in attending the sessions again. In addition to the education sessions, we will continue to provide direct clinical services to women and children, boost the nourishment of children with our Nutritional Supplement Program (NSP), and provide lessons to children aged 4-7 who are currently out of school. The Vertical Garden Lease Program will also continue.

In February, we will begin programming in another underserved community in Puerto Princesa called Little Tondo. Our nurse Josh recently wrote a blog entry describing the community, please click here to read all about it. We will begin the month with an introductory gathering to explain our services to the community. Following that, we will begin our 20-week education sessions for women and girls, and commence the direct clinical services. Our teachers  will also provide classes for children in the community during the education sessions. This will allow the mothers to participate in their sessions  without any distractions.

Barclays Grant

In November 2010 we were awarded a grant from Barclays Capital that will allow us to expand into a third program site in 2011, begin a comprehensive College Outreach Program and expand our Vertical Garden Lease program. We hope to begin work in the third program site by the second quarter of 2011, and will select the site using the same criteria we used to select Pulang Lupa and Little Tondo (a combination of interviews with key informants, census data, and in-depth surveys).

The Roots of Health College Outreach Program is going to allow for the organization to greatly expand the education outreach for young people that we currently conduct at Palawan State University and Western Philippines University. We will hire a coordinator for this program who will be a presence at the major universities in Puerto Princesa. We will run informal health education sessions for interested students, and eventually train some of these students to be peer counselors to disseminate key information to other students, particularly the prevention of unplanned pregnancies, so that we can reach a wider audience and improve the sustainability of the program.

We currently rent Vertical Gardens to women in Pulang Lupa, and the Barclays Grant will allow us to expand this program so that every interested household in Pulang Lupa, Little Tondo and our third program site will have at least one Vertical Garden with which to grow nutritious vegetables for their families. Roots of Health will hire a full time staff person to handle the program and provide education on the gardens, as well as provide support in constructing, erecting and maintaining the gardens.

In addition to our outreach work here in Puerto Princesa, we will also be working with our Board of Directors and Advisory Committee to plan the organization’s future. We are in the process of conducting a Strategic Planning Process which will result in a Strategic Plan to guide the organization in the coming years. The Board and the Advisory Committee will also continue to provide us with technical and fundraising support.

In 2010 Roots of Health was extremely fortunate to work with amazing partner organizations in Puerto Princesa, and we hope to continue these partnerships and also make news ones. We also welcome interns and volunteers, so if you are interested in becoming involved with Roots of Health, please let us know!

Happy New Year from all of us, and thank you for your continued support in 2011!


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