Hannah details her experience at their first campaign

2 07 2011

The campaign was held in Las Flores, a small village located approximately an hour, or two bus rides, away from Grenada. The main road of the town stretched for approximately a mile, with houses scattered along the road, and dirt alleys leading off to many more homes.

A campaign is the event an entrepreneur holds twice a month in order to sell products, give free eye exams and make some disposable income. We had visited the village once before to publicize the campaign we were holding. We walked to the majority of the homes in the village and at each home our routine was the same: we would ask permission to enter and then in our jumbled Spanish, we would inform the residents of the free eye exams and products being sold at the campaign. The day of the actual campaign, in addition to publicizing,, other jobs during the included surveying for new products, giving eye exams and running the inventory.

I spent most of my time surveying about a new product, Nutributter, which is a vitamin supplement for 6-24 month year old kids.  As part of our research for this product we asked villagers about nutrition, access to food, and common diets in the community. Most of the community members stated that malnutrition did not exist in Las Flores, but was prevalent in most of the neighboring villages. Likewise, many villagers reported their kids were healthy and maintained a steady diet of fruit and vegetables but their neighbors’ kids were mal-nutritioned. These two comments really surprised me because it seemed everyone acknowledged that malnutrition was a problem, but denied it was a problem in their home, or in their community. Furthermore, it made getting accurate data difficult.

One of the more interesting conversations we had was with a woman in her young 40’s, who based on her house came from an above average level of affluence. When asked how malnutrition should be treated, she responded that the government is taking care of the poor. This was also really surprising, as it stood in contrast the other responses which all alluded to the discrepancy is public and private health care in Nicaragua.

The campaign was really interesting as it was our first day out in rural Nicaragua. It had been a slow day, but eight villagers purchased reading glasses over the four hours we were there. Also, it was a challenge to yield accurate data from the surveys. Nonetheless, looking back I appreciate the foundation our first campaign gave me. It allowed me to understand how to cater surveys to a specific target population, and at the next campaign we got great survey results. Likewise, the low attendance number really highlighted the importance of publicity, and of picking an accessible, central location. All in all, it was a great day, and a great introduction to the work.




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