It’s week 4 highlighting some of our smart, talented Akros staff members! This week we’re introducing you to Ilenga Nkhata, our SLTS Program Manager. Ilenga takes care of EMIS and our trachoma elimination work with DFID SAFE and Sightsavers. She also happens to be a makeup artist! She is a great team leader and helps create new program ideas, but sometimes she would much rather wield a 20-hue palette of blush than an excel spreadsheet. There are few bad days as far as Ilenga is concerned, but when you thought you were done with finance and then learn two more reports are due … 😬
Out staff member highlight for this week is our very own Derek Pollard! Derek is our IRS Program Manager and HMIS Advisor. If you ever want to talk about spraying operations (protecting homes against the mosquitoes that carry malaria) and making them more efficient, you can count on him to fill your ear … for a while. He’s pretty excited about it. We also call Derek the social butterfly of Lusaka. If there’s an event happening around town, a bike race up in Mulungushi, or a pickup rugby match, you can expect Derek to be there.
As we continue highlighting some of our great Akros staffers, we need to tell you about Frazer Bwalya. Frazer is a GIS Technician, and our all around mapping guy. He spends time out in small towns around Zambia “walking through” villages digitally in Google Earth with Community Health Workers, showing them satellite imagery of their villages - often for the first time - so that they can map their surroundings and make them more accessible from the national level. Frazer smiles. A lot. He’s the kind of guy you would want to unwind and play a board game with at the end of a long, hot day of mapping.
A resident of Lwimba Ward in Zambia’s Chongwe District shows an Akros Surveillance Officer, Lawrence Owaga, her newly-built latrine. This latrine meets all of the requirements for adequate sanitation: (1) A privacy structure, (2) a smooth cleanable floor, (3) a lid, and (4) a hand washing area - here she is using a tippy tap. In partnership with @unicefzambia and the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Akros created an innovative community surveillance system that tracks the number of residents with access to proper sanitation. Using a basic feature phone, a local community volunteer will track improved latrines just like this one. This information is then available in real-time through a web-based platform, thereby allowing the Zambian Government and local stakeholders to make data-driven decisions about the health and well-being of the population.
We’re really proud of our staff - they make our programs run and are always coming up with creative new ways to help improve the health and well-bring of the communities we serve. Over the next several weeks, we will be highlighting a few of these awesome staff members, starting with Sharon Mazimba! We think of Sharon as the Akros ping-pong; always shifting to the coolest, most challenging project she can find. She started out as an intern on the WASH team, moved into acting project manager for a while, then took on Systems for Better Health, working inside the Ministry of Health and she’s just transitioned into the SBH program manager. There is always a flurry of activity going on around Sharon and a lot of productivity taking place, but she’s always cool, collected, and wearing one of these great smiles.