One of the real highlights of the month was the visit of New York Board Member Justine Fonte. She spent a little more than a week with us early in the month, working with all programs and all staff, getting to know what we were doing, what challenges we were meeting, and helping us plan new ways of teaching reproductive health to young people. She was especially inspiring, I think, to the teaching team – although in the end we all envied the fact that she has a fixed 15-hour slot for teaching Reproductive Health with high school students. We have to fight to set up every engagement and have a maximum of five hours of student contact! But she gave us many new ideas!
Charlotte Rossiter, our nursing intern, arrived mid month with her husband and two lovely and inquisitive children. We have been enjoying the whole family! When I asked Charlotte whether she was enjoying her work with us, she told me she had been working in the largest hospital in Europe – probably in the world – Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham – and it couldn’t be more different than our little bamboo and sawali hut in Magsasaka, with either Daisy or May presiding! She really prefers the low tech but infinitely more human clinic here! Good to hear, of course.
We were all sad to say good-bye to Victoria Rines, our Madeleine Albright fellow from Wellesley College! She had been such a help, especially at doing Internet-based research and with helping with our data analysis, and she was also a very pleasant person to have around, interested in all our programs! She also worked with Noelle Pineda, our intern from Stanford Medical School, to put together a professional development training for us on Focus Group Discussions, and how to design and use them to generate real and reliable data and information.
Noelle’s own research involves Focus Group Discussions and one on one interviews with high school students and community young people. These interviews will give us more accurate information on how our students think about sexual behavior and also how they evaluate our classes.
Noelle has also been helping out in some of the Reproductive Health classes in high schools and colleges, giving good presentations on Menstruation, Sexually Transmitted Infections, when you need to go to a doctor, and what to expect from the doctor. We find there are many levels on which our students and young people do not understand their own bodies; yet they rarely seek medical aid, out of fear and ignorance as well as because of cost problems. So Noelle’s talk has been very helpful and well received.
We filled the Monitoring and Evaluation position as this has evolved into a bigger and bigger job over the years. We got many good applications and were very happy to find a strong candidate who lives right here in Puerto Princesa. So we hired Kristina Orlido (Kits), and she started working and has settled in very well.