We are proud to present the 2015 Annual Report.
It was a year of major scaling of our programming in order to reach more women and young people not only in Puerto Princesa City, but in the whole province of Palawan.
During the year, we significantly expanded our programming for young people in high schools. In addition to our existing Reproductive Health curriculum, we also taught young people about puberty, and about Tuberculosis. We not only taught in all the major high schools in our city, but we also expanded our programming into northern and southern Palawan. Our team of traveling teachers taught at schools from Narra in the south to Roxas in the north, and a number of municipalities in between. The team found that the need for information – and the eagerness to get it – increased with the remoteness of the area. (There are still high schools in Palawan with neither electricity nor cell phone service!) Our team became so adept and skilled at teaching and managing large groups of students, that they started thinking an audience of only 50 or 60 was quite a small group! Over the year, our team taught 15,192 young people about their health and how to protect it. Given Palawan’s high rate of teen pregnancy, we are so pleased to have taught so many young people and believe their newfound knowledge will help them avoid unplanned pregnancies and stay in school.
In 2015, we continued providing maternal health education workshops, clinical services and training for Community Health Advocates (CHAs) to nine resource- poor and isolated communities in Puerto Princesa. Recognizing that the further away from the city center we get, the greater the need is for information and services, we piloted a program of service delivery to two communities outside Puerto Princesa’s central business district. Because these communities (Candes Dos and Talaudyong, both in barangay Bacungan) are very isolated and difficult to access, there has been a high demand for our services. We’ve had to adjust our workshops, service delivery and CHA training since we can only go to these communities twice a month. However at the close of the year we felt secure knowing that our model for service delivery outside our city is one that can work. We will continue to tweak and adjust this model as needed in 2016, in order to reach even more women and girls who need our services and programming.
Knowing that 2015 would be the last year of our Financial Literacy programming, we sought to make as big of an impact as possible by reaching greater numbers of people with basic finance knowledge and skills in order to empower them to manage their finances more wisely. We taught 113 women within our communities using our traditional style of classroom-based training. In addition to this, we also trained 22 of our Community Health Advocates who had already completed our Financial Literacy course on how to teach their peers the basics of Financial Literacy. With our support, our CHAs then taught 716 of their peers some of the most important basic information regarding finances, bringing the total number of community members educated to 851. We also launched an Enterprise Development program which started with 100 women participating in workshops on the various aspects of starting a small business and culminated with us awarding small grants to 12 women entrepreneurs who made business plans and proposals for starting their own small businesses. Finally, we created a financial literacy program geared for young people focused on wise spending, saving, and employability.
When I think back to 2009 when Susan, Marcus and I started Roots of Health, I don’t think any of us could have dreamed that in six short years, we would be helping change lives and improving health outcomes to the extent that we’re doing today. Thank you for supporting us along this incredible journey!