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.
We are proud of our very own regional director Benjamin Winters, sporting Akros green and representing at the 2017 Cape Epic, a mountain bike race on the Western Cape of South Africa that can be described in no way other than ... well ... epic. The race takes riders through 691km and up a lot of hills. A LOT of hills. The accumulated vertical gain over the EIGHT DAYS of the race will be 15,400m. Wow. Pictured here is Ben (left) with his fearless teammate Gregory Smith. Go team Akros!!
We were excited to be chosen as a winner in the Picturing inclusive CLTS photo competition with our photo of these female students from Maunga School in Zambia's Southern Province standing in front of their new improved latrines. When girls from the school were menstruating, they would often stay home for lack of sanitation facilities at school. Now, with funds from UNICEF, the girls' latrines are built with a privacy enclosure and a specially built water-channeling floor so they can wash properly before returning to class. Through sanitation tracking done by Akros, the school has seen a significant decrease in the young women missing school for days at a time.
Akros is proud to be working with Sightsavers, an organization working in more than 30 countries to eliminate avoidable blindness and support people with visual impairments to live independently. Recently, we spent a day with Chipo, a young girl living in rural Zambia. Both Chipo's great and great-great grandmothers are blind as the result of an infection called trachoma. Their disability would make life more difficult anywhere in the world, but especially so in the setting where their family lives. Chipo must work extra hard every day to care for her elders, often times at the expense of her studies. Click the link in our profile to read more of Chipo’s story.
Akros' very own Laurie Markle was in attendance at the GAVI Infuse workshop in Geneva. We are excited to have been selected as one of 7 pacesetter organizations. And despite how much fun it looks like they were having, we are told they also did lots of hard work and big thinking :)