Over the course of her career, Bella has provided counselling and group facilitation training, program & curriculum development, supervision, management services and training to a number of sectors within the social service industry. Throughout the years, she has worked in a variety of locales including; group homes, shelters, schools, psychiatric hospitals, clinics, advocacy programs, community-based agencies, private practice and with international agencies and development NGOs. She is a gifted writer and trainer having developed and facilitated presentations and workshops to a variety of recipients including mental health professionals, Crown Attorney staff, union leaders, hospital clinicians, rape counsellors, children’s service employees, the general public and many more.
In 2005, Bella relocated to Namibia (Southern Africa) under contract with VSO as a Site Manager to operate the Walvis Bay VCT (an HIV/AIDS counselling and testing clinic) and to support the Director of the WB Multi-Purpose Centre (a collection of community-based anti-poverty and HIV services). During the course of her contract, she succeeded in substantially increasing the amount of clients accessing the HIV testing centre as well as improving the counselling skills of both center’s staff members and volunteers. Bella devised a plan that included the creation of a unique and expansive community mobilization initiative as well as a focused training and supervisory program intended to support the VCT staff to provide sensitive client-centred counselling services. The joint ventures were phenomenally successful. WB VCT quickly increased its client numbers by 150-300%. Client feedback was overwhelmingly positive: they liked the service and especially how they were treated. As word spread, Bella was invited to offer similar training and support to the staff of the WB State Hospital HAART Clinic. Later, she assisted the State Hospital’s Principle Medical Officer (PMO) and TB Committee to develop and launch six community-based TB stations.
From this start, Bella was given opportunity to expand her service to the Namibian people as an independent consultant. In conjunction with CB Consult, she provided background expertise to a number of projects serving Positive Vibes (formerly IBIS), Lironga Eparu, SFH (formerly SMA) and GIZ (formerly GTZ). She was a senior researcher and writer of the UNICEF evaluation of the national Junior Windows of Hope in-school HIV prevention program. Later Bella developed a unique and comprehensive psycho/educational 20 week curriculum for the Tusano HIV support group program. Having trained the original group coordinators in facilitation skills and the manual’s content, this program operated for several years in five regions of Namibia. In 2008, SFH invited Bella to be a national technical advisor consultant; expanding the original Tusano services to include training and evaluating village and community leaders in 10 regions across the country. Together with CB Consult, she produced new editions of the manual and several others while on the road. At the request of the Ministry of Defense, Bella and CB Consult also provided specialized training to those Defense Force members who were providing leadership in HIV support. By the end of the development phase, 250 Namibian leaders were provided with the manuals, training and follow up support.
Since 2008, Bella has continued to be involved in developing original program materials, operations manuals, workshops and training. In association with CB Consult; a Namibian consultant, she was hired by the governing national unions of Namibia to facilitate a two day conflict resolution workshop to assist 11 unions that had become embroiled in a conflict over the operations of their HIV services. Later, she developed the first ever program manuals and training program for the Namibian LGBT community; a population that remains under threat of criminal charges and imprisonment. She also undertook an evaluation study of the Swakopmunder Musikwoche; a volunteer organisation providing a yearly professional music school. The recommendations from that study have since been fully integrated into a revamped and incredibly popular program. After relocating back to Canada, she continued to be contracted by Africa Groups of Sweden (AGS) to provide national program evaluation studies, strategic planning and most recently a feasibility study for the continued existence of NGOs in the face of international donor fatigue. This study was launched in April 2012 and attracted the notice of USAID and the National Planning Commission of the Namibian government. In July 2012, she was invited to present two of her manuals to the International Psychological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.
The major international donor country /agencies that have financed the projects that Bella has worked for include:
• Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
• Population Services International (Washington, D.C.)
• DFID (Department for International Development) United Kingdom
• AGS /Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)
• EC (European Commission)
• NEDA (Netherlands Development Assistance)
• GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) Germany
• VSO Canada now CUSO (Canadian University Services Overseas)