Solomon-Chipingo Phiri has been Access Health Africa's Country Manager for several years, so we're long overdue on introducing Chipingo and all his amazing work to our blog.
Chipingo, who was born and raised in Malawi, came to AHA with a background in education and Mass communications and experience in resource mobilization, HIV/AIDS and gender programming, advocacy, networking, behavior change communication, and workshop facilitation.
Of working for AHA, Chipingo says,
"AHA serves not only people in towns or suburbs, but it reaches people in hard to reach areas...deprived of the basic health services because they do not have facilities or personnel. AHA reaches out to these vulnerable people. Hence, through AHA's work people of Malawi are seeing the light in the access to quality and equitable health services, education, and resources. It is from this background that I find working with AHA so fulfilling. AHA hears the voice of the people, it follows tenets of "empowering development" as compared to passive development whereby people are passive recipients. AHA believes in people having a voice in what they want, how they feel they need to do it and the support that they need."
One of Chipingo's greatest accomplishments is managing and growing the impact of Camp Hope, which we have operated since 2011 as part of our partnership with Serious Fun and other private partners. Camp Hope is a week long camp for adolescents that provides HIV knowledge, peer support, decisionmaking, nutrition, hygiene, and other important topics for PLWHA and ALHIV (Adolescents living with HIV). Chipingo is incredibly passionate about Camp Hope, which he describes as intentional programming "cross cut with fun" that "focuses mainly on the building blocks of love, safety, and respect..we provide a forum for ALHIV to work through their challenges and create peer networks for support. Camp helps to decrease a sense of isolation and helplessness and allows our participants to build their self-confidence they need to manage life time treatment as they grow in society."
Chipingo helped Camp Hope expand from the first year, where there were 40 campers in one session to 320 across four sessions this past year. Chipingo specializes in training Camp Hope's extensive staff roster in child focused and therapeutic recreation using a loop model of challenges, successes, reflections, and self-discoveries. Chipingo is especially proud of the 64 Leaders in Training, former camp graduates and peer educators, who have been trained and have facililtated camp since 2014.
AHA is incredibly lucky to have such a dynamic, up-for-anything, passionate Country Manager. Please join us in thanking Chipingo for his contributions so far and follow along for more of his great work!