Kalenga is one of historical places in Iringa region and is also famous for not so good reason. Known as home for Hehe tribal leader Chief Mkwawa, Kalenga is very famous for production of alcohol especially a local bamboo juice known as ‘Ulanzi’. IDYDC in continuing effort to fight against alcohol abuse has now introduced the Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program in Kalenga ward.
Program introduction in Kalenga
Since at IDYDC we are using the community based approach it is important for the community to accept the program. We sat with the representatives from the ward office and village committee members to introduce the program to them. After understanding what we will be doing and their roles, they wholeheartedly agreed to participate in the program. We agreed that we will cover three villages namely Isakalilo, Kalenga and Tosamaganga.
This month we have started project implementation by visiting all three villages of Kalenga ward. In the first phase we have started with the alcohol effects training, training facilitated by Dr Ally Ngalla. In attendance were different groups representing others just to make sure the message will reach larger audience. We had village council members, teachers, religious leaders and alcohol brewers, sellers and also drinkers.
Alcohol effects training
Firstly the participants are encouraged to be open as we assure them we are not there to judge them but rather to learn from them and discuss together what can be done. The training is conducted in a participatory manner where everyone contributes their views. Participants say what they know, the pros and cons of using alcohol according to their views. Doctor clarifies after the discussion especially on health related matter just to make sure no one is misguided.
The next session is when the doctor start to explain what is alcohol, how it is produced and what happens when someone is intoxicated. The good thing about this session is that it is no longer a matter of opinions but rather only facts are given. Most participants are very interested to learn what really happens and they ask a lot of questions. We usually observe that people are touched by what the doctor says because some have personal experience to what is said.
In each village people make their own resolutions about what they will do after getting that knowledge. Most demand more seminars to larger audience and others vow to educate others about what they have learned. As this is the first visit for us, we will be monitoring if they keep their word on the resolutions made.