Yale graduate Paul Holden will be completing a 10-month internship with DB Peru starting in September. We welcome Paul to this new adventure.
Medical Director Dr. Geordan Shannon published the article Somos Iquales? in the Journal of Global Health Action with her work on gender-based inequalities in the Peruvian Amazon. Diana Bowie is co-author of this impactful article on using a structural violence framework.
Here is the link to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2017.1330458
Beth Ellen Hollimon, President of Dining for Women, joined our group of volunteers for a site visit in June. Here is her blog post from the organization’s newsletter:
Once a year, I have the distinct pleasure of doing site visits of some of our grantees. This year Dr. Khandke, our Director of Grants and Partnerships, recommended that I visit DB Peru and Chicuchas Wasi as we want to be visiting recent grantees. Both visits reaffirmed my commitment to Dining for Women, my appreciation of the work we do to select impactful grantees, and my love of our members who are dedicated to global citizenship. Let me tell you first about my visit to DB Peru, our featured grantee in October 2015.
It took three days to get to the Napo River area of the Amazon region in Peru and we were using the fastest modes of transportation – airplanes, taxis, and speedboats. DB Peru serves those who live in small villages of 150-250 people in an area of the jungle where most people do not go on purpose. The villagers travel by small dugout canoes with wooden paddles, although some of the canoes have small motors attached. The weather is either rainy season or dry season, although “dry” is relative because I was soaking wet from the humidity upon arrival. In the rainy season, the river can rise 30 feet which creates annual cycles affecting their food sources (good and bad), mosquito breeding, housing and village infrastructure, and disease. They live so remotely that they have few government visits, few or no medical visits, and live almost completely off the land. There was a noticeable lack of garbage because they generally do not buy commercial food or products. I would say they were at the “last mile”, but the last mile of infrastructure stopped long before. This is what makes DB Peru so remarkable.
Diana Bowie, founder of DB Peru, and her VP, Renzo Pena, are known and trusted in the eight villages we visited: people asked for Diana by name. DB Peru serves about 28 villages with medical prevention and interventions, but it took five full days of boat travel to visit the eight that we did. Renzo was welcomed into every village and home and we, the volunteers/observers, were welcomed right along with him. An unforgettable comment from one family was that “DB Peru always comes back.” The reality of that statement is that no one else does.
Before we left the city of Iquitos to head up the Amazon, I was able to meet the head of the municipal women’s health efforts. Jessica was instrumental in creating a partnership between DB Peru’s cervical cancer screenings, cryotherapy, and HPV vaccines (that DFW funded) and the local government for HPV testing. It is really thrilling to share this excerpt from an email I received from Diana Bowie last week:
“In September we will have an OB/GYN physician with us who will be teaching the nurse midwives (obstetrices) in the clinics how to do cryotherapy, getting ready for them to independently perform this procedure for cervical cancer. The most exciting news is the support and assistance we are getting from Jessica (who you met, I think) and Lita. They are putting together all the logistics for this class over 2 days – one day of theory and one day of practical. They are inviting the obstetrices from 3 clinics for a total of 10. These 3 clinics represent over 200 villages, thousands of women. We will probably continue to put our efforts into training the professionals, and of course make HPV testing more accessible. We are meeting the Minister of Women in Lima next month as well. “
The grant that we – YOU– funded has leveraged further funded programs from their original goal to reach 500 women and girls to now reaching THOUSANDS every year. Their aim was to transition this program to the government by 2020 and they have already achieved it. This is breathtaking success
Lucia Findley, member of the local Dining For Women chapter in Tellico Village, TN hosted Diana Bowie for an update on the cervical cancer project sponsored by a DFW grant. Lucia used to live in Lima, Peru and now moved to TN – she served traditional Peruvian appetizers and drinks.
The AWLC (American Women’s Literary Club of Lima, Peru) has selected DB Peru as the recipient of a grant for the second year in a row for our Norma Louise Stainsby scholarship program. The grant will cover tuition for one year for one student in health career studies. Nancy Rengifo from San Alejandro
Live Stream for World Bank Award Ceremony
Tuesday April 18 at 2:30 pm EDT
To support the prevention of violence against women and girls, the World Bank Group and Sexual Violence Research Initiative will award 10 teams from around the world with funds to support research and innovation to help address this global epidemic. The award ceremony will be live-streamed in 3 languages – English, Spanish and Arabic.
On Tuesday April 18th, Renzo Peña, Vice President of DB Peru will be in Washington, DC to accept the grant award of $150,000 from The World Bank Group for our Gender-Based Violence Prevention Program. Please join him live as he represents DB Peru.
Join the live stream on Twitter or Facebook here. The program will begin at 2:30 pm EDT on Tuesday (1:30 in Peru).
Dr Sara Warzecka will lead the Palliative Care initiative on our April jungle trip. To begin the research, she will be surveying leaders and health workers to investigate current attitudes and practice about death and dying in jungle communities. She is joined by medical students from the University of Warwick in England and from Denver, Colorado. In addition, clinical exams and treatments will be offered in the villages visited.
Dr. Allie Kreiner will be following-up with women about their HPV and Pap smear results from previous visits, performing visual inspection and cryotherapy if needed. HPV vaccines will be available to young girls 9-13 years of age.
DB Peru Director Sharon Blackburn will be the leader for this 2 week trip.
A message to Dining for Women members
Diana Bowie, President and Geordan Shannon, Medical Director
We want to portray how powerful this project has become, both for the communities involved and for us as an organization. It has become even more powerful than we realized at the time. The grant from Dining for Women has served as a catalyst for change.
Because of our work, the women – and even the men – of our communities are becoming very involved in their own healthcare; for some of them, this is the first time they have engaged with formal healthcare and taken charge of their own health. They are really excited about this project and it is gaining momentum. Women are engaged in our program and asking good questions. From appearing shy and marginalized, they are now proactive and more empowered.
The project has allowed community members to talk about what is important for them. For the first time, we have opened discussions around sexuality, relationships, and even domestic violence. From our discussions, we have community leaders wanting to form more locally led projects addressing violence against women, women’s health and chronic disease.
We have always spoken about sustainability of our work, through listening to the community’s needs. Now we are able to realize this fully: the community is now interested in taking the lead on their own healthcare and they are asking about doing this for themselves. Beyond this, we have the valuable opportunity to work with the government to incorporate this program into the public system to provide care for all women in Loreto. Our program, serving as a blueprint for action, may extend over the entire district.
By investing in us, you have shown the communities that they have a voice. You have allowed them to dream of a better future and start realizing the change they have wanted to see in their world.
The World Bank Group and Sexual Research Violence Initiative have announced that DB Peru and the University College London will receive $150,000 grant for Gender-Based Violence Prevention in the Amazon of Peru (GAP).
Author of the grant Dr. Geordan Shannon has done extensive research on gender-based violence in the area of Iquitos and the lower Napo River villages, and will be the lead researcher for this project. Dr. Shannon, from Australia, is currently in London completing her PhD and serves as the Medical Director for DB Peru.
Renzo Pena, Vice President of DB Peru, and Jenevieve Mannell of UCL will accept the award in Washington DC in April 2017. The project will formally begin in November.