Volunteer Impact

Gene Nixon

  • Gene Nixon

This article was originally written and published by VEGA Member Global Communities here


Applying CHF International/Rwanda Community HIV/AIDS Mobility Program (CHAMP) Linkage Model to Social Services for Vulnerable Populations Program (SSVP)

Gene Nixon currently serves as the Health Commissioner of Summit County Health District in Ohio. Gene started his career in public health as a volunteer in the Peace Corps.  Since then he has nurtured a passion for international development has worked for several different volunteer projects.

Between October and November 2009, Gene Nixon went to Rwanda to evaluate the Linkage model being used in the CHF International/Rwanda Community HIV/AIDS Mobility Program (CHAMP) program. The CHAMP program is an USAID program that provided clinical and support services to persons with HIV/AIDS and other the vulnerable populations. CHAMP is being phased out and a new program, Social Services for Vulnerable Populations Program (SSVP) will begin in 2010.  The purpose of Gene’s visit was to evaluate compatibility of the Linkage model with SSVP.

Gene spent two weeks in Rwanda determining the compatibility of the Linkage model between the two programs. To accomplish this goal he worked with the local CHF staff.  Gene started his review of the CHAMP program with the documentation. He read through the documents and newsletters being sent out to get a better sense of the project.  Gene held numerous of staff and individual meetings to get employee input on the project.  In addition, he also went into the different sectors to speak with the beneficiaries of the project.

After he completed his evaluation, Gene recommended that SSVP continue with the Linkage model started by CHAMP. Gene made the following recommendations for adapting the model to accommodate SSVP. The problem and mission statements need to be better define goals and program objectives for the community. A measurement and evaluation method is needed to ensure that the Linkage model is meeting the needs of the communities and producing desired outcomes. Changes should be made at a gradual pace as rapid change might overwhelm the population and overload service capabilities. The staff needs continual training to ensure success. Gene felt that the local staff had the ability to execute these changes and ensure the success of SSVP.