Rose Mpika, of the Siyakhulisa GGC team of CHWs, was elated when she found out that she was named Mpumalanga’s top performing CHW.

“I was thrilled because it showed that the work I had been doing had at least received some recognition. That has given me the strength to continue doing what I do,” she said.

Rose, who volunteers at the Sihlangu Home-Based Care Centre, believes that her team leader and members are behind her success as they always encourage her to do the best work she can. Before even winning the accolade, she had already started to see the fruits of her labour, with her community showing gratitude for the work that she and her team do.

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“Our community loves our work; they often ask why we don’t visit them anymore when they haven’t seen us in a while. I’m proud because we are slowly eradicating stunting. Children in our community will grow as they should and be happy.”

But beyond the award she won last year, Rose believes that one of the greatest things to come out of her joining GGC was knowing she could make a positive difference in the lives of others and learning some new things along the way.

“I’m happy that, since becoming part of GGC, I now have greater knowledge about stunting. I’m able to measure a child’s height to determine if the child is the right length

for their age and what to do to reduce their chances of being stunted. I’m able to advise parents on what food to give their children as well,” she says.

The knowledge she has acquired has benefited many pregnant mothers in her community. Rose says part of her responsibility as a Community Health Worker is to “encourage them to get screened for pregnancy as early as possible and tell them not to wait too long.”

Rose says she was encouraged to join after “Sister B” (referring to Champions for Children Master Trainer Sr. Bernadette Robertson) explained the programme’s mission to her.

She plays her part in ensuring that there are no more stunted children in South Africa by visiting families in her community, weighing the children in those homes and giving them vitamins, and supporting parents in applying for the Child Support Grant as early as possible.

“Joining Champions for Children has brought me valuable opportunities and joy. My family is also pleased that I’m part of this programme.

*This article is from the first edition [2019] of our On The Field CHW magazine and has been edited for brevity.