Meet and greet: Merian supports organisations to increase quality in SRHR and HIV programmes

May 21, 2014

Since 2013 Merian Musinguzi is a trainer and supports organisations in the field to increase the quality and effectiveness of their SRHR and HIV prevention programmes for youth. She works as a Monitoring and Evaluation specialist for Uganda Network of AIDS Services Organisations (UNASO). Meet Merian!

What made you decide to get involved in this programme, to become a trainer?

As an M&E specialist, I see many programmes of different organisations. While some programmes are dropped along the way, others continue but don't yield the desired results. When I was told about this programme I saw a chance to be able to help others achieve effectiveness in their SRHR and HIV prevention programmes. This way young people can really benefit the most out of the interventions designed for them. It's satisfying to help organisations analyse the way they work, improve where there is need for improvement and most of all be able to measure the outcomes of the programmes. 

What do you like most about giving trainings?

When I train others I see people really appreciate what I shared with them. For example during a workshop one participant shared with members how they had changed the approach in their programme on HIV care and support for young positive girls. A direct result of a training he received from me regarding SRHR for young people! For someone to raise such a point in another workshop and not during the training showed me that they had gone ahead to implement what we had talked about during the training and this made me very happy. 

What do you see as your main challenge when conducting a training?

Sometimes the way people do things, they have done so for years. It is not easy to change that. During one of the trainings in Uganda a participant felt that young people need to be directed since they cannot make correct judgment. He went on to say that involving young people so much will make them more spoilt and disobedient. Yet I know that he will really benefit from this training.

Why do you feel it’s important that these trainings exist?

So many reasons, but what really stands out for me: give people the chance to think through what they are doing. That they can reflect on what they do.  They learn how to develop interventions in a very systematic way instead of jumping straight into solutions.  As well as learn how to measure change that they have created.

What makes you proud being a trainer?

In general, it is the appreciation I receive from participants what makes me really proud. But also that I was the first one in our group of trainers who was asked to train others and that I was asked to train people in other countries. In the one year that I have been a trainer, I facilitated trainings in Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa. 

What is your dream for the future?

With the organisations I trained I see quite a lot of change after 1 year. One of the organisations in Uganda, they were implementing a project where we were offering quality assurance as UNASO. This organisation was facing challenges because they always concentrated on reporting outputs. The report they submitted after the training was very well analysed and clearly showed the outcomes. After this, I would like to take up the challenge to work with an organisation that is really just starting, that has no systems in place yet. And then see the results after a year! 

UNASO is an umbrella organisation based in Kampala, Uganda providing a platform for advocacy, coordination, networking, resource mobilization, capacity building and information sharing among civil society AIDS service organizations to improve on the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of service delivery in Uganda. 

Meet Juliet, too!

Juliet Alupo participated in one of Merian's trainings. She already improved the adolescent SRHR and HIV prevention programme of her organisation. Meet Juliet!

This article has been published in the STOP AIDS NOW! e-news May 2014.