CARE Canada’s Tanja Kisslinger

1. What do you do at CARE?

My job is a mix of communications, public engagement and knowledge translation. That means, I take information from our Global Health programs, and I create meaningful messages and opportunities for the Canadian public to understand and experience our nutrition work in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

I am specifically responsible for leading and coordinating the Feed Her Future campaign.

2. How did you decide that this was what you wanted to do for a career?

I definitely did not choose it – it chose me. Many years ago, I followed an impulse and a desire to spend a year volunteering in Africa. So, I showed up in Tanzania at a Center for Street Kids, and I offered my communications skills. I spent an incredible year with that organization, and it pretty much changed everything. That single year and single leap of faith on my part led to 15 years of freelance communications for nonprofits.

Over the years, my freelance communications consultancy led me to work with organizations such as Medair, Save the Children, World Vision. I worked in a variety of countries, including India, Nepal, Tanzania, and Mongolia.

 <li><span style="font-size:11pt">From September 20 to October, 15, 2018, the CARE Canada Knowledge Translation &amp; Public Engagement Officer (Tanja Kisslinger) traveled with two external, videographer consultants to Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia (the three SANI project countries). This was the first (of three, planned) resource allocation trips to support the SANI public engagement campaign (i.e. Feed Her Future). The Feed Her Future campaign is running in Canada from June 2018 to September 2020 (see: The overall goal of this trip was to collect a first round of (baseline) videographic and photographic footage showing the SANI project on the ground in all three countries. The videographers will spin the footage they collect into various deliverables that will be part of the public engagement campaign in Canada. </span></li>
 <li><span style="font-size:11pt">In each country, the goals were to:</span>
 <ul style="list-style-type:circle">
 <li><span style="font-size:11pt">Collect key, inaugural footage, both video and photographic, which can be used in Year 1 of the campaign to show SANI in practice;</span></li>
 <li><span style="font-size:11pt">Collect human-interest stories, quotes, photos and video which demonstrate SANI project activities and progress to date.</span></li>
 <li><span style="font-size:11pt">This specific set of photos was collected during 4 days of field visits in Zambia. Specifically, the photos show:</span>
 <ul style="list-style-type:circle">
 <li><span style="font-size:11pt">We visited Kanchibiya District, Mnikashi village. There we did a walking tour to see agricultural and WASH interventions put in place by SANI. That included, a local water hole (dirty, small) which had been used (and is still used by some households) but is being replaced by wells and boreholes. We ran into a local woman doing her laundry and dishes there. We also visited the backyard gardens supported by SANI and the community demonstrated the treadle (peddle) pump used for irrigation. SANI sensitizes communities to the need for gardens and the nutritious crops they support, and provides the seeds to start the gardens.</span></li>
 <li><span style="font-size:11pt">In Mnikashi we also observed as SANI trained &ldquo;Pumpminders&rdquo; repaired a borehole at a local school that had been in disrepair for 4 years. The photos show the trained, local workers successfully re-establishing water flow to a borehole that serves 50 local families, as well as all the children at the nearby school. The entire community celebrated the return of water, since it meant that many of the students would no longer miss classes because they were walking to a nearby river to collect water.</span></li>
 <li><span style="font-size:11pt">We also visited Munduwantanga village in Kanchibiya District. There, we saw a cooking demonstration, infant feeding, recipe preparations, and we observed a regular monthly check-in at a GMP (Growth and Monitoring) center. SANI supports all these interventions with knowledge, tools, training, volunteers, bicycles and more. Local staff explained that the greatest challenge of this health center was its shelter/structure &ndash; during rainy season, they must move to a nearby school.</span></li>
 <li><span style="font-size:11pt">We also visited Mukungule village in Mpika District. There we were allowed to film, interview and follow a young mother. She showed us her home, her daily routine, her cooking methods, and her family. She spoke to us about her daily life and chores, her workload, and the norms of her family and community. The photos include several shots of her with her daughter.</span></li>

3. What is the biggest challenge you face in this role?

The Canadian public is overwhelmed with “good causes”, and can experience some apathy as a result. The challenge is to make them feel connected to our campaign, our purpose, and the lives of families and communities so far away. We always look for new ways to inspire and involve the Canadian public.

4. What do you have coming up next?

I’m very excited about the launch of our first Feed Her Future video. It's a brief, emotionally affective introduction to the main message of our campaign. It’s beautiful, and it has been no small feat to take one month, 3 countries and 20 hours of footage and boil it down into a single expression. It just launched this past Monday.

Aside from this, we are also looking ahead to Women Deliver – Feed Her Future will host a panel called “Women’s Health Rights and the SDGs” at the CanWaCH Pavilion very near the conference center. In our panel, three organizations will discuss how women’s rights to health have shifted over the past 10 years, where we need to go next, and who is being left out.

5. Is there anything you want Canadians to know about your work?

You’re invited to get involved! Read the newsletter, become a campaign Ambassador, or maybe even undertake one of our long-term volunteer placements in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia!

We are open to your ideas too. Get in touch and let us know if you’d like us to come speak to your students or community group. We’d love to bring our campaign to you for a day or an hour!