The first in our video series, watch and listen as Clare talks about what inspires her to do this work. The video is embedded below, followed by an audio only version with a transcript below that.
Well this is a really easy thing to talk about, because it’s the people that I work with. By that I mean a whole range, right from the children to the teachers, to the people who are running the programmes. They’re the people who really carry this work along and it’s without them I wouldn’t be doing this work. It’s their enthusiasm and even when they’re right up against the odds, even in the poorest situations, like in the refugee camps, street children, there’s still so much that those children can do and want to do and are enthusiastic about doing. Because this work is so much about an approach and it’s not about setting up something new, it’s about doing something, building on what they’ve already got. When people get it and that light bulb moment happens, and the enthusiasm that they get to do the work, it’s just great to see.
So this is a family in Nigeria, the child with the white vest is part of a school health club. She’s been taking the messages and taking the activities about diarrhoea prevention and control to her family and the messages are not just focused on diarrhoea, they’re also focused on nutrition, immunisation, on washing hands properly. She looks after her little brother, who’s sitting on my knee, Peter. She’s got a lot of responsibilities for the little brother. When I went and visited the family she explained about all her responsibilities and her younger sister was also able to stand up and talk about all the things that her older sister had taught her.
The father was really funny as well, because it was a very real conversation because I was asking him, “What’s the programme like for you?“… and he wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the programme. The reason is this, his child is requiring him or influencing him or pricking his conscience because she wants more fruit and vegetables, she wants soap to be bought and she’s making demands, upon the family that weren’t there before. So he’s saying, “But I’ve been talking to my friends and I realise that it’s really important to listen to what she’s saying. So slowly, slowly, slowly, we’re trying to improve what we do in the family.” For me, that’s like music to my ears, really inspiring because it’s so real.
I mean, when we’re making changes about our health for example, we’re not going to do one thing one day and do another thing another day. It’s a gradual process because it’s about a permanent change. So it’s meeting families like that, that really inspires me because this is like at the end of the chain of what we’re trying to do. I might be working at a strategic level with governments, but it’s families like this who really are in the front of my mind when I do this work. I know the capacity for this work to influence the family and make an incredible change for them.