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.
In October the clinical phase of the ABCS Women’s Project got underway with volunteers from 8 countries from around the world. Medical Director Dr. Geordan Shannon and the group visited 6 villages by boat, consulted with 129 women, did 72 gynaecological exams, performed 69 pap smears, performed HPV self-sampling on 66 women, and performed cryotherapy on 21 women who had abnormal changes on their cervix. Followup on these women and visits to additional villages will be done in 2016 and 2017.
Earlier in July Dr. Shannon conducted the educational phase of the ABCS project. Over 10 days classes were held about cervical cancer and HPV. Special educational booklets were developed as one of the resources for the women in the region, marking the first time materials have been produced reflecting the life and look of the people in the jungle. By adapting materials to depict the way of in the jungle communities we believe it will pave the way for better understanding in the classes.
The Eco-Lodge is now habitable! – The first to stay were the 10 people from the data collection trip – led by Dr. Geordan Shannon. They reported that they loved it. With the help of Cindi Anderson’s fundraising of $900, we finished the entire second floor (took the old one completely off and threw it away), so the first floor has been reinforced and repaired and the second floor is brand new and slightly bigger. Due to Renzo’s foresight, we were able to finish the lodge enough for people to stay comfortably. We bought 12 mattresses, pillows, towels (had sheets), chairs, dishes, pots and pans, screening, had new mosquito nets made that fit the beds, kerosene lamps and odd items. Toilets flush with a bucket of water, but we still need a water pump. People either need to wash in washbasin or go to river. The lodge was originally a wonderful donation to us by Karen Johnson