Esther sees the direct impact of her work delivering family planning services at the Kunenekude Health Center in Mwanza, Malawi. Teenage pregnancies are down – as are the number of girls dropping out of school after becoming mothers at a young age.
“I feel proud of this job because a lot of young people are continuing with school,” says Esther, a 21-year-old volunteer Community Healthcare Worker. “This was not the case in the past where we had so many school dropouts due to early pregnancies.”
As a volunteer Community Healthcare Worker, 21-year-old Esther serves 108 clients in her community. She usually visits 10 clients a day, traveling up to 20 km to reach them and deliver various methods of contraception.
Among her challenges: “The long distance l travel to meet my clients. I can arrive late at my destinations,” Esther says.
But thanks to her reliable Buffalo Bicycle, Esther can spend more time helping her clients and less time traveling. As a single mother to her 3-year-old daughter, Favor, this saved time makes all the difference.
“Upon hearing the news that l would receive a Buffalo bike, l was so happy,” she says.
Research shows that CHWs with bicycles reach 45% more patients, visit them more frequently and provide better, more consistent care.
Without the work of CHWs like Esther, many would forego family planning and STI prevention because they’re embarrassed or because they lack transportation. But the services are vital for these communities to move forward.
“Family planning is good because it helps one to take part in development,” says Esther. “It ensures household food security as one has children according to his or her resources. It also helps people plan the number of children according to their capacity and resources.”
Despite not getting paid for her work, Esther is happy to have been chosen to become a CHW and help her community.
“I feel proud doing this job because l see changes in the lives of many young people in this community. This makes me feel that l am really doing my job well as l contribute to this positive change. ”