What are some of Tsungirirai’s best practices?

A Tsungirirai Best Practice: Station Day

On the first Wednesday of every month, staff at Tsungirirai stop what they are doing and participate in an important monitoring and evaluation activity called “Station Day.” Information gathered on this day helps to identify children who may need follow up health care, families who might need counseling or additional support, or future activities that could benefit the 200 children at Tsungirirai.

Developed by Liz Berges in 2002, Station Day has become an activity that is helpful to donors for its reliable and consistent monitoring of children. The agency has also modified the protocol to meet the ever changing needs of children and expanded to include the rural areas supported by Tsungirirai.

Children receive a vitamin as they enter the gates of Tsungirirai.

How does it work?

As children enter the gate of Tsungirirai, they are given a multivitamin and a “ticket” that will direct them to all the other stations they must visit.

One stop always includes the clinic, where children have their height and weight checked. This information is recorded and monitored from month to month. Any child who loses weight or who does not gain any weight over a 3 month period is flagged as someone who may need follow up. While in the clinic, children also have the opportunity to ask any health related questions.

Clinic staff record height and weight.

Staff ask children questions privately.

Every month children wait in line to visit the training room where they will sit for a few minutes for a private 1:1 session. At this time, they are asked 5 questions (in both Shona and English). Children’s answers are recorded exactly as they are given. The purpose of the questions might be to determine food security (e.g. What did you have for dinner last night), check on the health and sanitation of the home (e.g. Is anyone in your home sick right now? If so, what is wrong?), or gather information about future training/education needs (e.g. Tell me all the ways a person can get HIV). There is also a station where children complete their homework under the supervision of staff members. Other stations vary depending on the month. Sometimes a station is set up to flag potential problems. For example, one month children were given an informal eye exam. Those children who had trouble reading the letters were given a follow up appointment with a local eye doctor to determine whether or not their vision could be corrected with glasses. Often before the start of a new term, children are given haircuts at one station.

Gogo helps children cut their nails short.

One month Coco-Cola donated backpacks for all the children.

One month Coca-Cola donated backpacks for all the children.

Some months, there is “Meet with Gogo” station where Home Based Care workers talk with a small group of children about a particular health or sanitation issue (e.g. They may demonstrate how to brush teeth properly, when and why to wash hands). They also observe whether or not a child has his/her nails cut, if s/he appears to be clean, and the state of his/her clothing. These observations help to inform future Station Days.

Once a child finishes all the stations, s/he is able to redeem the ticket (now signed by an adult from each station). There are different items given out every month. Before school starts, it might be exercise books, pens and pencils. Before the winter begins it might be a warm hat, sweater or blanket. Other months’ items might include such items as washing soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, or a uniform shirt. On occasion, a business or donor will supply the agency with something that can be handed out on this day.

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