Vocational training team shares expertise with Aga Khan University faculty in Kenya
VTT members and AKU nursing faculty review medical records at a health center near Nairobi. A six-month follow-up survey of AKU’s nursing faculty is planned in January to assess the impact of the assistance provided by the VTT. The university and VTT are also exploring a return visit by the team to continue mentoring the faculty. Photo by Samwel Nyakondo, Aga Khan University
Members of a vocational training team (VTT) from California, USA, shared their expertise in nursing education with faculty of Aga Khan University’s Advanced Nursing Program earlier this year. Funded by a Rotary Foundation packaged grant, which is carried out with a strategic partner, the training team visited the campus in Nairobi, Kenya, 1-20 June.
The AKU program provides practicing nurses with opportunities to study while working full time. By nurturing a cadre of highly skilled health professionals and developing effective nursing leadership, the program aims to improve the health of the community as a whole.
Before the training began, the VTT of nurse educators from District 5340 spent four days with AKU’s nursing faculty, visiting clinics and discussing the faculty’s educational needs and goals.
The two-week training focused on interactive teaching practices that promote student learning. VTT members used a range of training techniques, including simulation of actual medical problems, case studies, learning games such as Jeopardy, storytelling, journaling, and student feedback through one-minute written papers. The team also conducted a two-day workshop for nurse educators from other institutions.
Team leader Jeanne Kearley, a member of the Rotary Club of Chula Vista Sunrise, believes that Rotarians can make a real difference in nursing education and, in turn, the quality of health care by working with AKU through packaged grant projects.
“AKU has earned a reputation for quality in its contributions to higher education and health care, particularly in the developing world,” says Kearley. “It is highly respected among educators, both in East Africa and the United States. A great deal can be accomplished not only in health care, but in other areas as well with the support of AKU.”
The Rotary Foundation began a strategic partnership with Aga Khan University in 2011, creating new opportunities for Rotarians to serve in the maternal and child health area of focus. Packaged grants to fund projects with AKU and other Rotary strategic partners are available for districts that have qualified under the Foundation’s new Future Vision grant model.
“I think the VTT concept, combined with a strategic partner, delivers the highest-quality outcome" in helping to improve maternal and child health, says Kearley.
The VTT, AKU faculty, and Rotary-sponsored nursing students from AKU also joined with the Rotary Club of Nairobi-Utumishi, Kenya, to carry out a service project in Lunga Lunga, a community of 20,000 people who live in shacks without clean water, sanitation, or electricity. The VTT brought 200 water purification indicators made by Rotaractors at the University of California, San Diego. Kearley demonstrated use of the device to a large group of Lunga Lunga residents, including a health worker and members of the local Rotary Community Corps, while a Nairobi-Utumishi club member translated the instructions into Swahili.
“Raising awareness of the dangers of drinking contaminated water and providing a simple tool that will indicate when water is clean will help decrease waterborne disease and increase child survival -- a large return for a small investment,” says Kearley. “Three Rotary clubs in San Diego have joined together to provide the device to the people of Nairobi’s slums.”