GlobeMed at the George Washington University

GlobeMed aims to strengthen the movement for global health equity by empowering students and communities to work together to improve the health of the impoverished around the world. Through involvement today, students commit to a life of leadership in global health and social justice. GlobeMed at GWU specifically aims to improve the health of the impoverished in solidarity with our Partner RVCP, a grassroots organizations in Southern Rwanda, through self-sustainable programs.
Aug 29, 2012

FOOTBALL TOURNAMENTS IN VILLAGE YOUNG PEOPLE

Village Young People in Tournament
Village Young People in Tournament

The RVCP through  a project “Youth Health Education Project (YHEP)”  is carrying out the football tournaments in southern province of Rwanda. This plan was designed for village young people to strengthen their  abilities to improve their health conditions. Youth  club football teams are promoted as a tool for empowerment and education.  The youth club football  teams at tournaments are taught about reproductive health and HIV/AIDS awareness.  The RVCP through  a project “Youth Health Education Project (YHEP)”  is carrying out the football tournaments in southern province of Rwanda. This plan was designed for village young people to strengthen their  abilities to improve their health conditions. Youth  club football teams are promoted as a tool for empowerment and education.

The youth club football  teams at tournaments are taught about reproductive health and HIV/AIDS awareness.

The participation of the community is an  essential aspect in implementing the projects and, more generally, in providing  basic health care. The key actors are people from the community. Through this  they are empowered, gaining greater self-reliance and more active  responsibilities additionally improving their own health. They are therefore  involved in all stages of the Projects; from initial planning through to the  evaluation.

 “Governmental and nongovernmental organizations at all levels could do much more to help  people especially in village youth, change their behavior to avoid HIV and AIDS”

 SPECIFIC  OBJECTIVES

- To effectively  use University  volunteers in  empowering rural village young people

- To create and strengthen youth club football teams through community  visits, mobilization and education.

- To eradicate misconception about HIV/AIDS and cultural norms which  lower the status of HIV infected individuals

- To provide the means of HIV/AIDS protection through distributing condoms and visual and reading  materials at football  tournaments

- To collaborate with urban VCT centers for volunteers to organize mobile VCT services in Huye district

This Tournament 2012 was funded by AECS-Catalonia

Emmanuel Bakundukize,discussing with the Community
Emmanuel Bakundukize,discussing with the Community
HIV awareness Director doing Condom demonstration
HIV awareness Director doing Condom demonstration

Links:

Jul 24, 2012

A Visit to RVCP's Hygiene Initiative

Alex, Lucien, and I after an education session
Alex, Lucien, and I after an education session

While I lived in Rwanda for 8 weeks, having the most incredible experience of my life on GlobeMed's GrassRoots Onsite Work Internship, I was fortunate enough to visit the Hygiene Program with the program's director, Lucien Nzayirata. In addition to being a student studying Agriculture at the National University of Rwanda, Lucien is in charge of ensuring that the Hygiene Program runs smoothly throughout the year. As he described to us, the Hygiene Program strives to educate local villages about proper and healthy hygiene, choosing one primary school per year where volunteers in the program will help to teach education sessions about hygiene. Volunteers in the Hygiene Program also visit the homes of many of the children's families and conduct at home education sessions. At the end of the academic year, RVCP volunteers select four families from those they visited and build a toilet at each home, giving the family the chance to have a happier, healthier, and more hygienic home. 

 

I accompanied Lucien to a local primary school to observe an education session. The children, whose ages ranged from about 7-12 years old, were very enthusiastic to learn and to respond to what Lucien was describing. Lucien spoke energetically and did a fantastic job of engaging the children about various topics, such as how to properly store water, how to handle foods to be cooked, and how to maintain proper personal hygiene with regards to Rwandan etiquette. The Hygiene Program at large develops a manual of information to disseminate amongst its volunteers who teach education sessions so as to standardize and regulate the information given to the students and their families.

 

I was very impressed both by how well Lucien's messages seemed to be received by the kids and also by how great of a teacher Lucien was. By reaching out to rural primary schools, actively engaging these children at a young age to follow proper hygenic practices, and attempting to spread hygenic knowledge and capacity to their families, RVCP is truly making a difference in the lives of rural Rwandan families through its Hygiene Program.

Lucien teaching primary students about hygiene
Lucien teaching primary students about hygiene

Links:

Jul 2, 2012

Muraho! Greetings from Rwanda!

Muraho! Greetings From Rwanda

 

I'm happy to be writing to you from Butare, Rwanda where I have been living for the past month with my fellow GlobeMedder Alex Moran, and we will happily continue to reside in Butare until mid-July. During these eight weeks, we are working closely with the Rwandan Village Concept Project (RVCP), our partner of five years, to work first and foremost on the Maternal Health Education Program (MHEP) and to continue to build and strengthen our partnership with RVCP.

 

Achieving both of these goals fully occupies our eight precious weeks in Rwanda. In our work with MHEP, we help to coordinate and plan education sessions for 45 women who are involved in this year's cooperative. Every Sunday, we accompany a group of volunteers from RVCP who teach the sessions to the women at the Rukira clinic, where these women receive healthcare. The topics of these sessions vary by week, ranging from critical issues such as malnutrition, hygiene, important prenatal practices, and HIV/AIDS. This clinic and these sessions have been the focus of our fundraising efforts for the last five years and we will continue to support efforts to strengthen and expand the capacity of the clinic. 

 

At the end of ten sessions, each of the women will receive either a pig or goat on the condition that they have attended a sufficient number of the sessions. The women of each year of MHEP sessions then form a cooperative and share a few large plots of land, provided by RVCP, and they work together to cultivate the land and harvest crops that provide a secondary source of food for their families and can be sold to contribute to the costs of renting and cultivating the land. These farming costs and the upkeep of the clinic are what we fundraise for throughout the year.

 

In addition to working with RVCP to hold the education sessions, we are also planning on visiting each of the women from the 2011 MHEP cooperative so that we can get their opinions retrospectively about the program, what could be improved, and how it has affected their lives after one year. By doing so, we hope to be able to better assess the needs of the cooperatives so that we can continue to maintain their sustainability. 

 

Our biggest task this summer is to develop a long term method of monitoring and evaluating the results of MHEP. So far, we have distributed an entry survey to the 2012 MHEP cooperative to determine what they know about the topics that the education sessions cover, their perspectives on gender balance within their families, and their perspectives on their health and the health of their children. We will be distributing exit surveys at the end of the ten sessions so as to determine what the women have learned from the sessions and how their perspectives have changed, if at all. For long term data collection, we have created a survey to give to the clinicians at the Rukira clinic. Our vision is that each woman who comes to the clinic will receive this survey at reception, regardless of whether she has participated in MHEP in the past. This way, we can collect data on how MHEP has affected the lives of women in the cooperatives and compare it to data on the health and welfare of women who have not participated in the program.

 

In terms of strengthening our partnership with RVCP, Alex and I will be visiting each of the initiatives that RVCP has, even though we do not work directly with those programs. They include initiatives that serve to educate local schools and communities about malaria prevention, nutrition, hygiene, and HIV/AIDS awareness. (LINKS) We also have and will continue to enjoy living in the company of our partner organization, getting to know its members more intimately, and getting the chance to see their homes and university (The National University of Rwanda). Something we've been constantly reminded of is how similar RVCP members are to ourselves, as they too are university students working their way through school while also investing their time and spirit into global health projects. 

 

As we continue to participate in RVCP operations, visit old friends, and learn more about our partner organization and Rwandan culture, I can genuinely and truly say that I am thrilled with the rewarding experience we have had so far and I cannot wait to bring back everything I have learned to our GlobeMed chapter at the George Washington University. 

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