Sightsavers from the field

February updates: highlights from around the world

February 2019
A volunteer in Cote d'Ivoire learns how to spot trachoma by examining a child's eyes.


High-profile awards for Sightsavers’ India office

Sightsavers India has received three prestigious awards for its NGO work, helping to raise its profile among the government, policy-makers and the media.

Sightsavers received the ICC Social Impact Award in the large project category for its work to improve eye health services in the Sundarbans region. In total there were 45 shortlisted projects, of which Sightsavers India was rewarded in the Health Domain category.

The UBS NGO of the Year Award, now in its second year, rewards organisations that overcome challenges in the fast-changing business environment and fulfil the expectations of stakeholders. The award was presented to Sightsavers at the Corporate Social Responsibility Summit and Awards in Bengaluru.

Finally, Sightsavers India received the National Association for the Blind Sarojini Trilok Nath National Award for Best Institution. The award was set up in memory of the organisation’s past president, and aims to recognise outstanding work in education, empowerment or rehabilitation for people with visual impairments. More from India

Four people smile while holding a certificate.
Staff from Sightsavers India receiving the ICC Social Impact Award.


Three brothers have sight-saving cataract surgery

Three young brothers from Sokoto state in northern Nigeria have been treated for cataracts through Sightsavers’ child eye health initiative.

Their father, Isah Ibrahim, first noticed that his son Samaila had white spots in his eyes when he was just three years old. He took Samaila to hospital, but couldn’t afford to pay for treatment.

Several years later, Isah heard about Sightsavers’ child eye health initiative, which enabled Samaila, now 10 years old, to have sight-saving cataract surgery on both eyes, at no cost to the family.

Last year, Isah noticed that his two youngest sons, Mulaihamu (aged eight) and Maisaratu (aged six) were also developing cataracts. Thanks to the project, they were both able to have surgery. All three boys are now going to school for the first time, and are excited about getting an education.

The initiative is funded by Fred Hollows Foundation. More from Nigeria

Three young boys wearing white smocks.
Samaila, Maisaratu and Mulaihamu were all treated through Sightsavers’ programme.

Côte d’Ivoire

Trainees visit Bogokaya to learn about trachoma mapping

A group of trainees took part in a practical training session in Bogokaya village, near Boundiali in the north of the country, to learn how to map the spread of trachoma.

The village is home to 1,500 people, and the trainees were welcomed by the village chief. The survey team explained the reason for their visit, telling residents: “We are here to look for a disease that makes you blind. We will examine the eyes of some family members. We will turn their eyelids to look, because it is in the red part of the eyelids that the disease begins.”

The village was divided into eight sections, known as strata, and one strata was randomly selected for the mapping. The trainees examined people’s eyes and made a note of any sanitation and hygiene issues in the village, which can cause trachoma to spread.

As the team left, the women of the village gathered in a circle to perform songs and dances. The project is funded through the Accelerate programme.
More from Côte d’Ivoire

A group of people sit outside a hit in a village in Cote d'Ivoire.
The trainees met residents and the village chief to raise awareness about trachoma.


Sightsavers staff and disability groups meet to discuss Global Goals

Staff from Sightsavers’ Senegal country office met civil society groups and disabled people’s organisations to discuss ways to make sure the UN’s Global Goals are put into action.

The Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. Sightsavers is particularly focused on promoting disability inclusion, a key part of the goals.

Sightsavers’ Senegal Country Manager Salimata Bocoum said at the meeting: “It is only through extensive consultations with the institutions in the development process, national programmes and a disability-specific inclusion strategy that progress will be inclusive.

“Today’s meeting marks the start of the project and enables people with disabilities to take ownership of the 2030 Agenda and to formulate concrete proposals for taking better account of their concerns in achieving the SDGs.”

The meeting was covered on Senegalese TV news and also featured in the national press. More from Senegal

Staff from Sightsavers and other organisations sitting at a conference table during the meeting.
Sightsavers staff joined civil society groups and disabled people’s organisations at the meeting.


Volunteers trained to spot the signs of trachoma

Training sessions have been held in Sokoto state in northwest Nigeria to teach eye health volunteers about trachoma and how to identify it.

Fatima, aged 45, from Bodinga, was one of the trainees who took part. She has already worked as a community-based health volunteer for more than 10 years, distributing medication and sharing information on a variety of health conditions.

“I first learned about trachoma during the training of community-directed distributors (CDD),” she explained. “There, I learned what trachoma is, how it spreads and how it can lead to blindness. After I was selected as my community’s case finder, I visited every household in my community to check all the household members for trachoma, counsel them and refer them for treatment. I was able to find two confirmed cases that agreed to have surgery.”

The training was funded by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.
More from Nigeria

Fatima took part in the training to learn more about trachoma.

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More stories from the field

A boy using a phone with his father sitting behind.
Sightsavers from the field

Programme staff explain how we’re supporting children's learning during lockdown

Sightsavers staff provide a first-hand insight into the five ways we’re making sure children with disabilities aren’t left behind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

July 2020
Babacar performs surgery wearing protective equipment on a trachoma patient.
Sightsavers from the field

Saving sight in Senegal during the COVID-19 pandemic

Without eye surgeon Babacar's efforts, people could have been at risk of going blind from the advanced form of trachoma during the lockdown.

July 2020
Dr Amadou wearing scrubs and a face mask.
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Celebrating our trachoma health workers

Health workers around the world have been thrown into the spotlight as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic. With this has come a renewed appreciation of their skills and hard work.

June 2020

Learn about our work to save sight