Salma Musa takes us through her career journey with APHRC, which began in 2001 when the organization was still developing. She tells us of some of the projects she has been involved in over the years and her work’s impact on the organization.
1 Describe to us briefly your career journey with APHRC.
I started my journey with APHRC in 2001 as a data entry clerk officer and rose to a data clerk supervisor in 2007, a position I held until 2014. My work entailed liaising with field interviewers who would collect and record data from residents in Korogocho and Viwandani using household registration books. In 2015, I was promoted to data quality officer, where I was required to check data for inconsistencies and ensure that it met the required standard for our research prerequisites. Currently, I work as a community liaison officer, where I foster relationships between APHRC and the communities of Korogocho and Viwandani informal settlements.
2 Tell us the impact data mapping has had on the multiple projects APHRC has undertaken in Korogocho and Viwandani.
The data collected and synthesized through the NUHDSS has been pivotal in creating programs, carrying out projects, and influencing policies that have improved the quality of life for the urban poor. Our demographic surveillance area (DSA) comprised eight villages in Korogocho and 12 in Viwandani. We monitored health and education quality, migration patterns, fertility, and mortality rates within the DSA.
3. Tell us about the Jubilee Education Fund (JEF) and how it has helped the communities of Korogocho, Githongoro, and Viwandani.
In 2012, APHRC established the JEF to provide needy students from Githongoro, Viwandani, and Korogocho slums with funding for their secondary school education. This project has had an enormous impact on the benefactors and their families, where in some cases, they might have been forced to forfeit their secondary school education due to the lack of funding. Since the project started in 2012, we have provided high school scholarships for five cohorts of students and 31 children in Githongoro, Korogocho, and Viwandani. Some benefactors have proceeded to local universities and enrolled in vocational training.
4. Can you give us examples of a student you have supported through JEF?
Barlin Adam Guyo was among the three students we sponsored from Korogocho. She completed an undergraduate degree in Finance and BaPauls’sat St Pauls’ University and now works as an intern accountant at CABANAS, a well-established restaurant in Nairobi.
5. How has APHRC bridged the gap by strengthening LCPS to provide urban poor with quality education?
APHRC has supported various LCPs in Korogocho and Viwandani. We have provided computers to aid learning, sanitation facilities, and books and have improved existing infrastructure. We have so far donated 32 computers to various schools in these settlements, 30 in Korogocho and 2 in Viwandani, where the exercise was piloted.
6. What training facilities have you benefited from in APHRC, and how has this made you a better community liaison officer and research officer?
While at APHRC, I completed my undergraduate degree in Development Studies and am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Development Studies with a major in Community Development at St. Paul University. My thesis is on teenage pregnancies and school drop-out trends within the Korogocho informal settlement. APHRC supports career development for its staff and gives part of the funding required for my undergraduate and graduate studies.
7. What challenges have you faced as a community liaison officer, and how have you resolved/mitigated them?
Migration within the slums is challenging, especially for longitudinal studies such as the NUHDSS. This is especially the case in Viwandani settlement area, as the demographic is primarily young people from other towns doing casual work who move once they have steady sources of income. Unlike Korogocho, where generations of families live there. We have employed digital databases to mitigate it, making traceability easier for our field workers.