Donor syndrome is when a country’s dependence on foreign aid paralyzes their ability to solve the same problem with their own means. It’s an argument you’ll find on the con side of development work. It’s something you’ll occasionally hear Peace Corps Volunteers complain about. As Peace Corps Volunteers our job is to create sustainable projects, projects that people will carry on even after we leave, and a major obstacle to that is changing the minds of those who would prefer we funnel in resources.
Kenya has a tiered health care system that starts at the community level with community health workers (CHWs): volunteers who teach the community and refer cases to the right facilities for the care they need. It’s a beautiful thing.
It’s anti-donor syndrome. It’s people volunteering to improve their community. I attended dialog day in the Wakhungu Location. Dialog day is where CHWs and Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) come together to compare statistics on everything from homes with latrines (pit toilets), to school drop outs, to births in and out of health care facilities and more. The community looks at the statistics from the previous quarter to determine the focus of the current quarter.
In this meeting we went line by line of the data collected to discuss why we felt the statistics had improved or worsened and what we could do to ensure a positive outcome for the next quarter.
I love working with the CHWs and CHEWs.