Self-Efficacy in Community Lead Health Initiatives- Follow-up

The SOMOS team and the CdS certainly have a lot to show for our work this summer. Attached is the final version of the Health Prioritization Survey that we created. Over the next few months, CdS members will carry out this survey, and the results will help them to shape future health outcomes and access to health resources and education in their community. However, more than just the outcome of the survey, the results of our work are seen in the progress the CdS made this summer in building their capacity as a community health organization. Though the community still has a long way to go, the CdS will continue to play an influential role in enabling the community to take control of health outcomes and the resources that are available to them.

Unfortunately we have not yet been in touch with the CdS since we left the community. Our work is very much limited by unreliable means of communication that are available to us. We have tried several times now to reach Mónica by phone, but since she is not able to return our calls, it is very dependent on timing. However, we hope to be in contact as soon as possible.

Also since leaving the community, we received word from EWB that they have decided not to continue their partnership with Esfuerzo and have terminated the flood mitigation project. Their reasons behind this decision are that there is no substantial community proposed solution to reduce floodwater levels, there is no consistent in-country partner to serve as a liaison between the EWB team and the community, and results from previously conducted household surveys revealed that 75% of the community misses school or work 4 days a year, which is less than the engineers believe is deserving of the cost associated with the proposed elevated roadway project.  This rationale, to say the least, is misguided, and I am very unconvinced of EWB’s qualification to have involved themselves in this kind of project to begin with. I am not sure they understand, or have regard for, the repercussions of this conclusion.

This news is, without a doubt disappointing. We anticipate this decision having a lasting impact on the community’s desire to continue working with us, but nonetheless we will let them know that we are committed, long-term, to helping the community with issues of health and healthcare access. If flooding remains a top health priority in the community, SOMOS will work with community members to find alternative solutions. We are optimistic that elements put in motion this summer- such as the beginning of new collaboration with local government and the formation of a money collection system among community households- will  allow the community to continue working toward a flood mitigation project independent from EWB.

Moving forward, we hope to be in contact with the community as soon as possible about both EWB’s decision and the current progress of the health prioritization project. I am hopeful that though the engineering project fell short of expectations, the survey will help to demonstrate the true capacity that the community has developed in creating change and will encourage them to continue to work toward community driven solutions to the challenges they face.


  1. acadbyspicer says:

    This was such an interesting post, and I am extremely disappointed to hear about EWB. It is unfair to the community that they are brokering these resources and taking them away without logical reasoning. What are the next steps for the SOMOS project? Will the community attempt to partner with a different engineering organization or get a a different EWB chapter at another university?

  2. That is certainly disappointing, not only for your hard work but for the community as well. Good luck with your survey, I have high hopes that CdS’s continued involvement will yield results!