Reflection of My First Week of Training

By: Alice Mwikamba

My first week of training was met with excitements of having an opportunity to do something that I always love. I am always fond of meeting new people but this being a team that I would be working with on a complex project, I had questions in my mind as I headed for my first day of training: How will it be joining Keheala? Will I meet the expectations? Will my contribution to this project be good enough to impact the society as well as earn me a feeling of self-actualization? All these questions rang in my mind as I neared the training venue. However, my questions and anxiety were not to last long because of the warmth that I received from the Keheala team.

From the smiles, warm hugs, training sessions, great team building activities and the spirit of teamwork, the first week of training was a moment of fulfillment for me. Keheala is, indeed, the place to be!
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On the first day, Jon Rathauser, the CEO, introduced himself to us as well as Erez, who was to join us later in the week. We then switched to our main agenda, which was the introduction to the company and the project. During this period, I was pleased to know a lot about the company, our partners, as well as an overview of the TB situation in Kenya. This was also a great opportunity for me to understand the scope of the project and a breakdown of the specific tasks that would be required for the success of the project. What followed was a transition to a detailed introduction session from each member of the team, which was not only fun but a great chance to know my team in detail.

By the second day, I was well oriented to the company and the project, which gave me a lot of interest to understand the remaining part of the training. Although I was familiar with some of the company’s internal technology platforms, I was elated to learn how I would apply them, particularly on the project at hand. I also had suitable time learning about new platforms like asana, which I find very relevant in my current role. I was excited to know that as a team, we can use this application to keep us on track and well organized. As a researcher who has handled human subjects, I understand that consenting is an important part, as it was perfectly explained by the project manager. Again, the team spirit was manifested as we went through the consent document together, while customizing certain words and phrases into the context of our study groups. 

Our third day of training was one of the busiest and fun days, transitioning from one unique to another even more unique session. It was very insightful learning how certain approaches targeting human behavior can be effectively applied to make a great impact in the society. This was a supreme and an eccentric concept to me in that it gave me an understanding of the idea behind the conceptualization of Keheala’s approach to using mobile technology to influence human behavior in a way that would improve the treatment outcome for TB patients as well as their quality of life at large. On this day, we were also honored to have a representative from the Ministry of Health, who did an amazing presentation on the TB situation in Kenya. It was worrying to see how much of a burden TB is in our country, with very high incidents of mortality, MDR TB as well as non-adherence. On the other hand, this was a challenge to me and the team, to do our best in this intervention and help improve this alarming situation. It was also motivating to learn that the Ministry of Health has a huge regard for our work and are very optimistic that our interventions will yield great results.

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By the fourth day, I could not help but appreciate the effort that the company had to put in not only training us but also in giving us skills and knowledge that would last a lifetime. Unlike the previous days, this one started with a fun-filled photo session, for both individual and group photos. I personally love photos and it’s always exciting to see people put up their best smiles and poses, which made this one of my favorite moments. Since Keheala majorly bases its work on the application of technology, this training could not have been complete without the immense support of the Ministry of Health, who sent another representative to introduce us to TB ECHO. This was a very paramount session for me and the entire team owing to the fact that it enlightened us on how we can hold group meetings even with the stakeholders from Ministry of Health without necessarily having them physically present. After a long and successful day, a team building activity came in handy. This was a beaming moment where we also got a chance to bond and understand each other better, to enable us to work proficiently as a team.

Our last day of training was finally here and I could not have been more excited looking back at the week that was and reflecting on the numerous things that I had learned. As the CEO led us through a review of the week’s activities, I felt very advantaged to be part of Keheala team and the amount of new information that I had acquired. I felt very confident and empowered in the knowledge that I had been equipped with all the skills required to deliver adequately in my role. Teamwork is paramount in Keheala and led by our CEO in a very simple yet comprehensive approach, we drafted the company’s core values: Community, Empowerment, Hope, Innovation, and Teamwork. It is now time to hit the ground and together with the support of our partners and friends, we’ll beat TB in Kenya.