Greetings, friends! I’d like to share with you some more detailed information about how our malaria programs work “on the ground.” I am proud to be a staff member of the ELCA Malaria Campaign, because I get to witness the amazing generosity of our church members, and I get to witness the ways in which our companions in Africa work hard to leverage the money we raise into effective and life-changing malaria programs.
Malaria is an urgent and devastating disease that requires immediate intervention. Working alongside our Lutheran companions in Africa, the ELCA is responding to this urgent need with well-structured and efficient malaria programming. Programs funded by the ELCA Malaria Campaign are taking place in 11 (soon to be 12) countries in Africa. Programs are in various stages of development, and many are already making a life-changing difference in their communities.
In order to best accompany our companions over the duration of their malaria programs, ELCA technical staff work together with our partners throughout the phases of program development, implementation and evaluation. To increase program efficiency, the Lutheran churches and organizations that are running these malaria programs complete several planning activities prior to implementing the full malaria program:
- Each program begins with a concept note that details the goals and objectives of the program.
- After the concept note is accepted, our companions develop a full malaria strategy in the form of a program proposal.
- This proposal is informed by a thorough baseline community survey that help to identify the particular assets and growing edges in each community. (Health programs that are appropriate to each context and targeted to a community’s identified needs and strengths have a far higher success rate.)
- A cooperation agreement with the ELCA, which includes program plans and budget, is then finalized.
- Staff members are recruited locally to fill program positions.
- In the initial stages of program implementation, ELCA technical staff work with our companions to make sure that the church bodies are equipped to run a malaria program on a national scale, using widely-accepted best practices. This enables our companions to train church staff on all levels, both in malaria prevention and control and also in other areas necessary for program implementation (for example, financial records and bookkeeping). The technical term for this training and equipping is “organizational capacity building“.
- Before the malaria program is launched, a series of meetings are held with key stakeholders. These meetings, which include church, community and civil leadership, serve to educate and create a sense of ownership among the members of the community in which the program will be implemented.
- After these preparations, the country program is officially launched. Some country programs begin with “pilot programs” in specific areas; others are rolled out in all program areas simultaneously.
- Then the malaria program is underway!
- Our technical staff maintain relationships with our companions throughout the programming phases. When we reach the end of the planned programming, an extensive program evaluation will occur, and will include suggestions for how to move forward. We expect that some of our partners will elect to continue their malaria programming past the 2015 ELCA Malaria Campaign end date. In that event, programming will likely continue under the auspices of ELCA World Hunger. In many places, malaria work will become more integrated with the other health-related work happening in a country.
To download the full Malaria Program Dashboard representing the progress of all 12 country programs (as of July 2013), click here.
– Jessica Nipp Hacker, ELCA Malaria Campaign Coordinator