In November 2022, members of the SolarSPELL team attended a Peace Corps Conference for Advancing Health Professionals (AHP), a Peace Corps Response program. The AHP program works to improve health systems and educate emerging health care professionals in resource-constrained areas by recruiting experienced medical and health professionals to serve as educators and advisors. As of today, the AHP program has been launched in five Peace Corps Response countries: Malawi, Eswatini, Uganda, Tanzania, and Liberia.

AHP conference attendees (clockwise from top left): Anna Vecchi (PC HQ, Washington, D.C.), Sarah Dietch (PC HQ, Washington, D.C.), Endesh Mollel (PC Tanzania), Belinda Liana (PC Tanzania), Rachel Nova (ASU), Laura Hosman (ASU), JD Moore Kerwhen (PC Liberia), Amelia Naturinda (PC Uganda), Towela Nyika (PC Malawi), Khombisile Gumedze (PC Eswatini), Dawn Childs (PC HQ, Washington D.C.), and Mandlenkhosi Vilakati (PC Eswatini). Not pictured: Heather Ross (ASU)

The conference, held in Monrovia, Liberia, brought together Peace Corps staff from all five AHP countries, Peace Corps Response team members (from Washington DC), and ASU SolarSPELL, to collaborate and strategize about a range of topics including program goals, monitoring & evaluation, recruitment, and opportunities presented by the SolarSPELL Health Library.

Sarah Dietch presenting on the first day of the conference.

On the first day of the conference, we received warm welcomes from the conference organizers, Dawn Childs and Anna Vecchi, and heard from the Director of Peace Corps Response, Sarah Dietch (pictured above), and Vernice Guthrie, the Country Director of Peace Corps Liberia.

Dr. Laura Hosman presenting SolarSPELL’s holistic approach to empowering learners.

While the SolarSPELL team has already been working closely with the Malawi AHP team and Peace Corps HQ, Dr. Laura Hosman (pictured above) had the opportunity to share the SolarSPELL story with the whole AHP team and invite them to connect to the SolarSPELL Health Library. As always, that’s when the magic happened!

Dr. Heather Ross answering questions about the SolarSPELL Health Library.

The SolarSPELL Health Library has an extensive collection that includes resources on dentistry, nursing, midwifery, community & public health, emergency care, mental health, women’s health, and more! After browsing the library, the conference attendees were excited about the library’s potential and enthused about partnering in the future to bring this resource to their Peace Corps Volunteers and AHP partner organizations.

Dr. Heather Ross presenting about Evidence-Based Practice.

Next, ASU’s Dr. Heather Ross (pictured above) presented to the group. Dr. Ross, whose expertise as a Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner made her an invaluable partner in the development of content for the health library, presented to the group about Evidence-Based Practice, a major emphasis of the SolarSPELL Health Library.

Towela Nyika (PC Malawi) presenting on Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning.

Many of the conference attendees led presentations to share their expertise and experience. We were particularly excited to hear the presentation about Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning, given by SolarSPELL champion Towela Nyika (pictured above). Towela oversees the AHP program in Malawi, where the SolarSPELL Health Library will have its debut field implementation later this month! 

We’re looking forward to the upcoming train-the-trainer training with AHP Malawi team and their partners at the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences to equip them with SolarSPELL Health Libraries!