Viva la escuela EPES

We are still glowing from the experience of our first International Training Course on Popular Education in Health! What an intense and incredible two weeks we had. From the positive feedback and praise we received, it seems the course went beyond everyone’s expectations. I believe now more deeply than ever that EPES has an important and strategic role to play in training new generations of community health workers, church workers and activists. There is such a hunger for understanding how to do popular education, how to generate spaces for participation and empowerment and how to address the underlying causes of poor health. We have gained so much experience in these 28 years![youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibpfWKVyB8k&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

THANK YOU ALL for promoting the escuela, supporting a student, participating in a conference call to help us plan the initial course ideas and all of the other ways in which our circle of friends supported this new initiative.

From the more theoretical presentations of Ron Labonté on the social determinants of health to working with the community health teams to design and carry-out a community action in the local market to dancing the cha la la to evaluate a session to learning about mainstreaming gender in health planning and walking the camineta del poder to learning EPES´ model of training to playing and evaluating many of EPES educational games to being challenged by Pastor Lisandro Orlov to think about the role of faith communities in the struggle for health and dignity to visiting the Park for Peace to designing their own individual projects based on the experience and learning during the program….the escuela was an intense and engaging experience.  We taught our methodologies by having the participants experience them and they loved it. The graduation ceremony was similar to how we graduate health promoters with cards read out loud with descriptions of each person written by their classmates….the ´lagrimometro´ (tear-meter) as we call it at EPES was off the charts.

We had 20 participants aged 23 to 50 from 8 countries –Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Kenya, Peru, Chile, Canada and the United States.  They are all linked on the EPES Escuela 2010 facebook and a listserve that we created together to share news and stay connected.  We heard ideas and requests for EPES Honduras…EPES Kenya….the need for ongoing support for community health groups and enthusiasm to send their friends and colleagues to next years´course.

EPES Traing January 2010

EPES Training January 2010

We have received many notes of appreciation and enthusiasm from participants but let me share this one to give you a sense of the feedback:

I want to first tell you how informative, dynamic, and inspirational the EPES school was.  I have attended many workshops about popular education, public health, community organizing and nothing comes close to my experience with EPES.

The EPES staff is really on another level that I have never seen before.  So brilliant, amazing facilitators, and so humble, really blew my mind. I could go on and on, but I hope you get my gist, I really loved my time I spent with you.      Josh

We are profoundly grateful for the opportunity to launch the escuela and we are confident and hopeful that there will be many more in the future.