Friday, November 5, 2010

My new job – hello 9-5 or 7-6! (22.10.10)

So I finally have my job placement here in Uganda! I know that it is going to be an amazing two years! When I got my job placement one of my new boss’ wrote me up this welcome document filling me in on a few things he thought I should know before coming to meet him and the staff as well as starting work:

Organization Name: Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP)

Kayunga District, Central Region

The Kayunga District Youth Recreational Center opened as a joint effort between MUWRP and the Kayunga District health Authorities. The aim of this facility is to build District capacity in identifying and providing HIV prevention, care and treatment services to the youth population of Kayunga Districts. Youth are largely absent from clinics that offer conventional prevention, care and treatment. This Center provides youth with daily counseling (including ART) and recreational services in a manner that is specifically geared toward persons between the ages of 12-25. Furthermore, the Center’s vibrant community-based activities include district-wide youth outreach and mobile VCT to schools and other appropriate venues with emphasis on reaching OVC’s and un-tested youths.

To build infrastructure, capacity, and systems of local public and private partners in central Uganda to ensure sustainable, quality, comprehensive HIV services for communities that have participated or could participate in research studies.

Job Description:
• Work in collaboration with the Youth Recreation Center Supervisors in all recreation activities including: sport activities, games, entertainment and other events, possibly at different venues.
• Work in collaboration with the Youth Recreation Center Supervisors in all health related activities including: individual counseling, group counseling and health education for youths.
• Design and implement creative programming for community youth.
• Work with Youth Recreation Center Supervisors to use creative approaches to integrating Health Messaging and basic Life Skills into all events at the Youth Center.
• Mentor and give guidance to Youth Center volunteers and councilors on a variety of topics (i.e. Career guidance, financial planning, etc.)
• Motivate and support the Youth Center volunteers and councilors
• Support in the safety of participants aged 12-25 while they partake in activities at the Youth Center.
• Maintain high level of communication with District Youth Officials and youth groups including regular updates to individuals and groups on evolving Youth Center news and activities.

So that’s my job description, but it doesn’t even encompass what I walked to. I’m very lucky for the experience that I will have over the next two years. My head boss is an ex-Peace Corps Volunteer from Ghana. He’s live in Africa for over the past 10 years and loves his job, the people here and the country itself. My boss is the country director for PEPFAR, which means I’m working basically for PEPFAR Uganda. My Youth Center is also partially funded by the U.S. Military HIV/AIDS Research Program. USMHRP is the one of the few organizations working on the HIV/AIDS vaccine and Kayunga has been chosen as a test zone when the vaccine makes it to that stage (which could be later rather then sooner, but you never know with the progress they’re making). My Ugandan administrative boss is great! She is a spitfire and though she likes to joke and have a good time she is very American in her approach to the work world, which is a breath of fresh air. I also have two counterparts who I work directly with and I’m technically their boss, but I did not like that when I arrived. I talked with my American boss and told him for capacity building’s sake that they should be on the same level as me and that is now what is going on which makes me feel a lot better. Every day I am amazed by the dedication these two people show the community and our staff. They have both had tremendously hard times in their life and they both have risen above the darkness to make their lives better for themselves and their families. They are two of the most interesting and strong people I have ever met and I feel blessed to have them grace my life.

I have a lot going on these first few weeks of my job, but a lot of amazing and fun programs and events coming up. I will be sure to update you all very soon about everything MUWRP is doing in Kayunga!

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