Day of departure!!

If you dont already know, later on today, Liz, myself, and a young student frm Montreal’s eastern townships will be embarking on a 10day journey to Malawi. For Liz and I, it will be our first return to the country since 2011.  3 years ago, I spent 4 months in Blantyre, Malawi, studying nursing at Kamuzu College of Nursing.  During that time, I also meet Roderick Banda (the founder of our partner project, WHEAMS), and fell in love with his project and vision.  I can’t speak for Liz, but, in many ways, my heart feels like it is returning home.  This happens every time I go to sub-Saharan Africa. Boy, what an exciting time to be going back!

As a community and public health nurse by profession, I know the essential link that exists between health and education.  Education enables people and populations to know about health practices.  Health enables people and populations to access ongoing, sustainable, education.  It is this simple link that the ” Comprehensive Student Health” framework bases its foundation.  The program enables schools too have healthy classrooms through 3 methods:

  1. Relationships and environments,
  2. Teaching and learning,
  3. Community partnerships,
  4. School policies.

My home province of BC has adopted the framework as well for its healthy schools program; you can see a small video about the framework at the linked YouTube Video.

While I am in Malawi for the next 10 days, I want to remember this framework.  How can our work at Warm Heart Initiatives/Initiatives de Coeurs Chaleureux encourage, equip, and empower our partners to develop a sustainable, healthy, community education project?  How does our 10 day trip contribute to this vision?

Our trip has three main components.  First, to network with other NPO’s and see what they are doing, what is going well, and what continues to be barriers.  Second, to see the WHEAMS project, and spend time with the educators, women, and children.  To use a strength based, collaborative method to contribute to the groundwork of the project. Third, to meet the WHEAMS board in its entirety and do business collaboration around finances, webpages, and partnership.

We will attempt to blog as much as possible while away.  Keep an eye on this site, to follow our journey!

If you would like to contribute to the work of WHI/ICC and their partner in Malawi, feel free to donate via PayPal, or send us an email [ warmheartinitiatives at gmail dot com] for more information.

Amelia Birch is the Western Canadian Director, and co-founder of WHI/CCC.  She is a graduate of McGill university’s direct-entry Master’s degree in nursing; she studied Global health, with a particular focus on North-South educational partnerships in Nursing. Currently, she works as a community nurse in East Vancouver. Her views expressed on this blog are not those of her employer.


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