GlobeMed at UCLA

GlobeMed is a national non-profit organization comprised solely of students and recent graduates that are dedicated to improving the health of people living in poverty around the world. Since its establishment in 2006, GlobeMed has grown to include 55 chapters and over 2,000 students nationwide. Each GlobeMed chapter is partnered with a grassroots organization in a developing country, with whom they collaborate on specific projects aimed at improving the health of the community. In addition, GlobeMed is active in raising awareness of global health and social justice issues on each of the network's university campuses. We do this by implementing a global health curriculum that is taught weekl...
Jul 13, 2015

July 2015

A few members of the Buyuki WUC and the Mpoma team
A few members of the Buyuki WUC and the Mpoma team

Since our last project report, Mpoma Community HIV/AIDS Initiative’s WASH project has made spectacular progress. The five Water User Committees— Lukalu, Lutengo, Waluga, Buyuki, and Namatogonya— have begun collecting the monthly water user fee (as agreed upon by each community) from what seems like a majority of households. Based on the latest update from the team of GlobeMed interns currently on the ground (known as the GROW team), Buyuki has collected 70,000 Ugandan shillings thus far. Lukalu has collected 92,500 shillings, and Namatogonya has lead the way, collecting 100,000 shillings. 

Of the three, Buyuki is the only Water User Committee (WUC) that has opened an official savings account with a local bank. Lukalu and Namatogonya expressed interest in opening bank accounts to keep the money safe, but have asked for assistance in finding a conveniently-located bank with minimal fees. 

The GROW team has yet to visit the WUCs in Waluga and Lutengo, but by the end of this week they should have exact values for each water savings fund. Before the GROW team leaves, they will match these values in all five villages, using the money GlobeMed has raised throughout the year, in order to help bolster the funds and to encourage more households to contribute. 

The GROW team has also been working closely with Mpoma staff to encourage the WUCs to assume the other half of their roles as community health educators. There are two members on each Water User Committee, known as “Health Promoters,” that are primarily responsible for educating the community about proper sanitation and hygiene practices. After speaking with the first three WUCs, the GROW team has begun developing a comprehensive training package in collaboration with Mpoma. In addition to the WASH manual (which has been edited using more concise language), the training package will include various posters illustrating the signs and symptoms of common water-borne illnesses, posters explaining how and when to wash hands, bank recommendations, as well as various WUC and Health Promoter performance evaluations. 

The performance evaluations are particularly important, as they are to be filled out by the WUC and brought to bi-annual meetings. Twice a year, all of the WUC’s will meet at the Nama Wellness Youth Center, conveniently located next door to Mpoma Community HIV/AIDS Initiative, in order to assess progress and receive relevant training in water management, hygiene, and sanitation. The first of these bi-annual meetings is scheduled for July 24th, while the GlobeMed GROW team is still on the ground. There, the WUC’s will receive their training packages, learn from doctors at the clinic about how to recognize illnesses such as typhoid and cholera, and be trained in community outreach and sanitation education. 

Arguably, the most exciting WASH development has been the expansion of the project to the Katogo Health Center. This water source is supposed to serve not only the largest health center in the surrounding area, but also the nearby school and village. The borehole has long been in disrepair— neighboring households have been walking to Waluga, or using the ponds that are also used to clean boda-bodas (motorcycles).  The GROW team got to witness the borehole’s rusty pipes be replaced with brand-new PVC pipes. A week later, the team traveled back to Katogo to facilitate the election of a new Water User Committee, which will also be attending the bi-annual meeting on July 24th.

While the progress our WASH project has made is invigorating, the work is far from over. There is much that needs to be done to strengthen the existing WUCs— GlobeMed and Mpoma are working hard to build their capacity and strengthen their clout among their respective communities. We would also like to see the WASH project expand— two of the larger villages we’re working with, Lukalu and Namatogonya, are in need of additional water sources, and we are looking into repairing water sources in two new villages. There are always miscellaneous problems within WASH that need to be addressed, such as the replacement of the enormous, rusting metal water tank that is currently supplying Johnson Nkosi Memorial Primary School. While Mpoma has been praised by the Nama Sub-County Commissioner for their exemplary work in water and sanitation, we need your contributions to keep this project thriving, so together we can achieve our ultimate goal of sustainability.

Katogo Health Center borehole repair
Katogo Health Center borehole repair
Election of the newest WUC in Katogo
Election of the newest WUC in Katogo
Apr 7, 2015

Beginning of Year

In the past year, GlobeMed at UCLA covered the cost of repairs/replacements of five different villages water sources, a rain catchment system at Johnson Nkosi Primary School, as well as the development of a WASH manual and curriculum used by the Mpoma Community HIV/AIDS Initiative.

Through community engagement and enthusiasm about the project, five village Water User Committees have been formed. These committees consist of elected community members who oversee maintenance and upkeep of the water source, and are orientated by Mpoma on their duties. These committees are vital to the future of the sources, and their commitment to the WASH project is extremely promising. Each village has voluntarily started a Village Savings Fund to cover future maintenance costs, and villagers collectively decided to contribute 500 shillings per month per household. In this way, long-term functionality of the water source and the independence of villages from donors is insured. The communities will retain full ownership and thus responsibility for their sources, making this a sustainable, reliable solution to their previously limited water access.

GlobeMed at UCLA will be subsidizing the village savings funds over the next three years by matching how much is raised. Our current goal is to match the contributions of the villages 9:1 in this first year, 3:1 in 2015-2016, and 1:1 in 2016-2017. After this point, the villages will be fully independent and have the proper resources to easily cover maintenance, repairs and replacements. If not, they will be in a much more advantageous position to receive further assistance.

Mpoma is assisting the villages in creating registrars of participating households, and opening the village savings accounts. Using the WASH manual developed last year, Mpoma is currently training villagers in proper sanitation and hygiene practices. GlobeMed at UCLA will be raising funds to provide more copies of the manual, add illustrations and diagrams, and translate it into the native Lugandan.

The functioning water sources have already made a huge impact on the community. In one of the villages, leftover funding was used to build a latrine for an older member of the community.

Consider investing in our chapter - you would be investing in countless lives and ultimately empowering communities to secure their own health without aid. All funding beyond what has been explicitly allocated will go to identifying and supporting other vulnerable villages in the Nama sub-county region who are in need of a repaired or replaced water source.

Dec 9, 2014

Beginning of the Year

Urmila giving a WASH lesson at Johnson Nkosi
Urmila giving a WASH lesson at Johnson Nkosi

In the past year, GlobeMed at UCLA covered the cost of repairs/replacements of five different villages water sources, a rain catchment system at Johnson Nkosi Primary School, as well as the development of a WASH manual and curriculum used by the Mpoma Community HIV/AIDS Initiative.

Currently, the construction of the rain catchment and three water sources is complete and the other two water sources are under way.

Through community engagement and enthusiasm about the project, five village Water User Committees have been formed. These committees consist of elected community members who oversee maintenance and upkeep of the water source, and are orientated by Mpoma on their duties. These committees are vital to the future of the sources, and their commitment to the WASH project is extremely promising. Each village has voluntarily started a Village Savings Fund to cover future maintenance costs, and villagers collectively decided to contribute 500 shillings per month per household. In this way, long-term functionality of the water source and the independence of villages from donors is insured. The communities will retain full ownership and thus responsibility for their sources, making this a sustainable, reliable solution to their previously limited water access.

GlobeMed at UCLA will be subsidizing the village savings funds over the next three years by matching how much is raised. Our current goal is to match the contributions of the villages 9:1 in this first year, 3:1 in 2015-2016, and 1:1 in 2016-2017. After this point, the villages will be fully independent and have the proper resources to easily cover maintenance, repairs and replacements. If not, they will be in a much more advantageous position to receive further assistance.

Mpoma is assisting the villages in opening savings accounts, and  will attend monthly meetings to gauge progress. They will be a consistent support system to the villages, offering advice and guidance in respect to upkeeping water sources, using the village funds, and educating on sanitation/hygiene.

Using the WASH manual developed last year, Mpoma is currently training villagers in proper sanitation and hygiene practices. GlobeMed at UCLA will be raising funds to provide more copies of the manual, add illustrations and diagrams, and translate it into the native Lugandan.

The Water User Committees, Local Leaders, and Mpoma Parish Chief all convened at Johnson Nkosi Primary School on November 4, 2014 to communicate the successes and needs for improvement for the WASH project. Peter, the Program Director at Mpoma, cited that everyone was extremely proactive and genuinely interested in finding the best way possible to move forward.

Consider investing in our chapter - you would be investing in countless lives and ultimately empowering communities to secure their own health without aid. All funding beyond what has been explicitly allocated will go to identifying and supporting other vulnerable villages in the Nama sub-county region who are in need of a repaired or replaced water source.

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