This week’s Fist Bump Friday goes out to VL Ethiopia as the team overcame extreme challenges during this year’s spray campaign. VL Ethiopia conducts one of the largest campaigns on the project and works in some of the remotest areas in the country. With a delayed start date to their IRS campaign because of a country lockdown due to Covid-19, VL Ethiopia began spraying June 2. Starting in June meant the team had to cope with the difficulties of spraying in the rainy season. The team was prepared, however, using camels when needed to traverse muddy roads and testing workers for COVID-19 to ensure everyone’s safety. With much hard work, the team successfully completed the first phase of the campaign.
As the team swiftly moved to phase 2, the challenges continued when a popular singer in Ethiopia was killed, resulting in violence and demonstrations across the country. In response, the government blocked the internet for the entire country for 24 days. The impact of this internet blackout was felt acutely by the entire team.
The M&E team relies on VectorLink Collect to enter and analyze the spray data. Without connectivity the M&E team used a backup tool to ensure that the un-synced data was also saved in another format, enabling the country team to still produce results to guide operations and continue to produce weekly reports. Expertly managed by Anteneh Mitiku, Yosef Tesfaye, and Samir Abadura, the M&E team then faced the enormous task of syncing data from multiple machines once the internet was restored.
ECO Getinet Mitiku Awoke also worked tirelessly to communicate with all district coordinators and relay information back to headquarters on a daily basis throughout the internet outage.
The operations team faced their own extreme challenges, including ongoing waves of insecurity in Oromia, after the killing of the pop star as well as flooding in several districts. Still, the team completed the campaign on August 3rd with a spray coverage of 95.6% and spray progress of 99%.
Congratulations to VL Ethiopia and those back in HQ (Katie Tripp and Kerri-Ann Guyah)! You deserve a huge shout out for your perseverance, dedication,and determination!