If you haven't noticed yet, we're kind of a big deal in Anconcito, Ecuador. Since the beginning of Project Anconcito in 2016, the community has rallied behind us to improve their health. Now, we are running with it- quite literally! Freddy Baque, our Project Coordinator, recently started a basketball team with 10 male members between the ages of 13 and 19. This team plays in the Anconcito Basketball League, and is already on its way to success.
What does basketball have to do with FIMRC's mission of health, you ask?
Well, quite a lot! The two team captains of the team, Piero and Junior, are FIMRC volunteers who have been involved with FIMRC since the census. Local participation is a large part of how communities begin to change their health, and a requirement for FIMRC to work within a community. If you recall, Anconcito had 40 volunteers help FIMRC with our initial census of the community to determine which health needs are the greatest, and what programs would be best to address those needs. Rather than including a sample population to make these decisions, the volunteers felt it was necessary to include as many people as possible, surveying 7500 community members! This initial survey helped bring awareness to FIMRC's mission and presence in Anconcito, and this basketball team will further the effort. The hope is that each member of the team will become a FIMRC volunteer, and that being present in the league will help others understand the programs and services available to the community through FIMRC.
In addition to raising awareness about FIMRC and increasing our local volunteer numbers, we're incorporating health education into the basketball team's experience! Once a month, Freddy will be providing a charla (or health talk) to the team, which will help them become more aware of their own health while also becoming ambassadors about these health topics. These charlas will include drug prevention, reproductive health, how to lead a healthy lifestyle, and decision making in relation to conflict resolution. These topics are not necessarily addressed within the home or school, and so FIMRC provides a safe environment for these young men to learn and ask questions to a positive male role model.
While we're excited about the benefits of the program, we are also excited about the success of the team so far! FIMRC staff can be slightly competitive, and so we're happy to announce that the FIMRC team has won all three of their games so far! In addition, our team was voted best dressed with our uniforms for the season. We wait with anticipation to see the end result of both the league and the effect FIMRC's team will have on the health of the community!