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Top Tips for writing funding proposals, the challenges of running an Ebola Treatment Centre, Upcoming Training Courses & the South Yorkshire International Development Network
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In this Issue:
Upcoming Courses: Being an Aid Worker - Basic Skills, 21st Feb, Sheffield
Building health systems for the future
SYIDN: Bringing aid organisations together in South Yorkshire
Aid Works in the press
Top Tips - What are donors looking for?
Dispatches from the Field - Mark Hawkins writes from Freetown, Sierra Leone
Like Aid in Action: Issue 2 on Facebook



Building Health Systems for the Future


Aid Works has partnered with the South Sudan Ministry of Health, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and HISP to explore the next generation of health systems.  On a visit to South Sudan, we reviewed three types of system; hospital information systems, the District Health Information Software 2 and supervisory tools for health facilities.

South Sudan’s primary healthcare Heath Management Information System (HMIS) is well established across the country. This success has taken some years to accomplish under the stewardship of the Ministry of Health, and has been resilient to the recent crisis due to the skills of the South Sudanese staff involved across the country. During our visit, we reviewed three hospitals piloting new health tools, getting feedback from the staff on how to improve the tools.
 
Read more about the visit – including a link to the latest supervision checklist - here.

Bringing aid organisations together in South Yorkshire
 
Aid Works is a member of the quickly growing South Yorkshire International Development Network (SYIDN), a coordination mechanism for local aid organisations. The network provides us with an opportunity to learn from each other, share events and news, and to give us a stronger, collective voice.

Aid Works hosted the most recent meeting, which featured an informative presentation from Rachel Cornish of the Evan Cornish Foundation.  
Rachel gave the network lots of useful tips about what donors are looking for from proposals. See her top tips below.
Aid Works in the Press
 
In December, we participated in The Guardian's The Sudan Series, and Mia contributed some Christmas cheer to their article on spending Christmas away from home.

In January, Mia's essay about South Sudan was highlighted in Aidnography's review of Chasing Misery, an anthology of essays by women in humanitarian responses. 
Upcoming Courses: Being an Aid Worker - Basic Skills, 21st February, Sheffield
 
Are you interested in a career in international development? Are you going to the field for the first time or planning to volunteer abroad? Do you want to get better prepared and improve your employability?
 
Our Being an Aid Worker – Basic Skills course will take you through a fictional scenario based on real-life events from our combined 20 years of field experience.
 
The course will introduce you to some of the essential skills needed when working in the field including:
  • Personal skills such as stress, security and time management,
  • Programmatic skills such as getting to grips with your project, conducting field assessments, managing budgets and monitoring. 
This course is essential for anyone serious about a career in international development. Full details of the course are on our website.
 
"Very useful, enjoyable and friendly - a great way to learn about aid work within a relaxed, friendly and warm environment" - Training Participant
As well as our work training aspiring aid workers in the UK, we provide high level technical support to organisations working in developing countries (international/local NGOs and government departments). This issue, we give you our Top 5 Tips for applying to donors, with thanks to Rachel Cornish from the Evan Cornish Foundation.
  1. Make sure you fit in with the donor’s aims. Read the donor’s website and funding documentation carefully, and determine if the aims of your organisation and project fit with those of the donor. Don’t try to shoehorn your project into to the donor’s aims if it’s not really a good fit.
  2. Make an effort to get the basic details right. Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation, and make sure you’ve got all the details correct. You may be surprised to hear that it’s not unusual for proposals to be sent in with the wrong donor name on – you won’t be surprised to hear that these usually go straight into the donor’s bin!
  3. Be clear and concise. It’s hard to judge this when you’re so involved with the project. Ask a third party to read your proposal and tell you if they understand it.
  4. Make your proposal stand out. If the donor allows you to, include contextual information (e.g. maps), case studies and photos.
  5. Meet the donor in person. Not an easy task, but if you can do it, this could make the difference between being funded and not being funded. It’s much easier to get your passion across in person than on paper.
Do you have any ideas for future Top Tips? Contact us and we will see what we can do.
Protective boots drying at the Save the Children Ebola Treatment Centre, Freetown

You've seen accounts about the health workers involved in the Ebola response, but have you ever wondered about the logistics of keeping an Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) functioning? Mo and Mia first worked with Mark Hawkins when he was the Global Technology Manager for Merlin. Now the Global Field Technology Manager for Save the Children International,  he has recently been in Sierra Leone, helping to set up Save the Children's ETC in Freetown. Below is an extract from his blog, in which he describes some of the technical and logistical challenges of setting up and running the centre.  
 
In September, what is now a 100-bed hospital was just open fields with some buildings nearby. The Royal Engineers (British Army) working with many local contractors build the ETC at an amazing pace. I have never seen such infrastructure built so quickly.
 
My role here has been to build the technical infrastructure at two sites for Save the Children. We quickly established a satellite link at our logistics base in Tokeh so that we had communications in place to handle the international logistics. This was then followed rapidly by another satellite link at the ETC so that the Labs can get test results to the UK and to the local community as soon as they are ready.
 
Radio communications have been set up at both sites. This is really important for command and control of this operation. 30 VHF handsets are provided to various teams to coordinate the activities of the doctors, nurses, hygienists and the people who will feed our patients. At the ETC, VHF proved essential as the local mobile system does not cover the ETC very well at all.
 
Wireless networks have been set up. For a hospital where we deal with just one - but extremely deadly - disease, traditional methods of managing information are not possible. Prescriptions and patient notes cannot be sent from the wards (Red Zone) to the safe area (Green Zone) as we cannot risk the prospect of infecting health staff with contaminated paperwork. Instead, we are establishing solutions where we transmit the information from the wards to the Green Zone electronically.
 
Power supplies are important as well. At Tokeh, we have three refrigerated containers where we keep drugs. We have had some problems with the generators and I have received a number of emergency calls to fix a broken generator. A rapid response is essential as we cannot afford the risk of ruining the drugs.

Read more from Mark's fascinating blog, here.

If you have any feedback on Aid in Action, or any ideas for future content, please contact the editor at info@aidworks.org.uk.

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