Supervision in Africa, Dr. Margit Vegter in Malawi

Last week I attended the evaluation meeting in Malawi of phase I of the Save my Mother programs (SmM) in the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia. This was the first international meeting I attended as part of the Female Cancer Foundation team. Although the experiences, challenges and lessons that were shared have taught all of us a lot about the process of cervical cancer prevention in the five African countries and are definitely worth writing a blog, this is not what I will be writing about.

Being new to an organisation gives me the opportunity to reflect on the organisation’s culture. What struck me the most during the meeting days, is how preventing the cervical cancer was the shared objective and very first priority of all the participants. This might sound very obvious, but I was impressed by the purity of these intentions. Losing the main objective of your work out of sight in the labyrinth of administration, relationships, other priorities, and so forth, can be a pitfall for every organisation.

Instead, the Save my Mother cervical cancer prevention programs seem to be very straightforward.

It is something I had already noticed during my work in the field with the SmM programs in Ghana and Kenia. Here it became most clear during outreaches where the objective of offering quality cervical cancer prevention services to as many women as possible during a day, made other interests or needs (like hunger) secondary. Even though the circumstances of the international evaluation meeting were much more comfortable than on an average outreach, still I was very pleasantly surprised how the dedication of all these persons from different nations and with different backgrounds led to such an inspiring and targeted meeting.