I would like to provide an update on my time in Gondar, Ethiopia, and on my work with SCOPE FLAME.
I am full-time student at the University of Washington (UW) School of Nursing (SON) working on attaining a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Population Health. I am on my final year (actually final quarter!) of the graduate program. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to complete my last academic year in Gondar, Ethiopia with SCOPE FLAME project in large part as a SCOPE Fellow, counting as my nursing practicum.
I arrived here on March 23, 2018 to complete a SCOPE Fellowship for six months. Throughout this time, I have worked on updating the FLAME training manual, assisted and attended the week-long FLAME training, and thereafter, have been helping out in the FLAME intervention. The FLAME Intervention entails monthly meetings with the SCOPE FLAME team, Health Development army and Ethiopian Orthodox Priest to work together to find successes and address challenges when working with new pregnant women to encourage the use of antenatal care, delivery services, and post-partum care at their respective health centers in the community.
September came, and my SCOPE Fellowship ended. However, I have enjoyed my time with SCOPE FLAME so much, that I requested permission from the UW SON to extend my time in Gondar, Ethiopia with SCOPE (continuing to count as my nursing practicum). The UW SON said yes, so then I inquired with SCOPE to see if it was possible to extend my time with them, and they said yes! I continue to support SCOPE FLAME by attending their monthly field visits (if it is possible) as well as supporting the SCOPE FLAME team by tracking site visits, absentees of participants, and tracking any changes that occur due to things like political instability, road closures, or other unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, among many small projects, one project I am working on is helping SCOPE Fellows to facilitate easier transitions to Gondar, Ethiopia by securing the University Guesthouse for a long-term commitment. This will allow the future SCOPE Fellows to arrive to Gondar and have a secure and permanent home during their time here. I have also submitted a couple abstract submissions to conferences, one here in Ethiopia, and one in the United States, related to the work I have been doing with SCOPE FLAME. I am keeping busy and enjoying my time here with the SCOPE FLAME team.
I will remain in Gondar, Ethiopia with SCOPE until the end of February 2019; I will nearly have completed one year in Ethiopia. Throughout my time with SCOPE I have gained more experience working with an international team, learning to work in a different culture, learning how to negotiate, gained experience updating manual and researching evidence-based information, arranging meetings, meeting with key stakeholders both at University of Gondar and within the North Gondar Diocese, overseeing a five-day training, and assisting in data collection (and much more). These experiences have provided me more leverage into moving forward to a future career in public health. My wish is to find a public health position internationally, but I am also open to a stateside position. The SCOPE Fellowship has helped me to develop into a stronger leader by working with an international team and improve in my communication skills with a diverse group of colleagues. The SCOPE Fellowship has also provided me connections to a solid group of researchers and public health professionals; we have developed strong professional relationships that will be long lasting.
I have learned so much from the SCOPE FLAME team, the Ethiopian culture, Ethiopian Orthodox faith, and people around me. Living in a country that is not your own is not super easy but overtime I have adapted and really have come to enjoy Ethiopia! Most recently some people even say I have gained weight, which is a compliment here in Ethiopia! I am not looking forward to the end of my time here in Ethiopia but am grateful for the opportunity to be here and work with amazing colleagues.