This has truly been the most exciting month of the year for GlobeMed at GWU and RVCP. In addition to our usual fundraising events, such as hosting a Bar Night at Rugby in Georgetown and a coffee house performance night at Bourbon Coffee, we successfully held our first annual Benefit Dinner and participated in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU).
Our Benefit Dinner took place on March 24, 2012 in the City View Room of 1959 E St and featured a panel of public health experts, including CEO and President of EngenderHealth Pamela Barnes, Dr. Alan Greenburg, Mehret Mandefro, Professor Richard Skolnick, Dr. Zohray Talib, and Dr. Tamara Henry. The night was truly spectacular. We were thoroughly honored and humbled by the support that we saw in the attendees and learned so much from the thoughtful discussion of the speakers. The topics of conversation ranged from establishing health equity promoting non-profit organizations abroad to the barriers to healthcare in the United States today. We were able to fundraise about $1,000 for RVCP through ticket sales to DC residents and public health students at GW, our silent auction, and donations.
This past weekend, we were also incredibly fortunate to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University, hosted by Bill Clinton on GW's Foggy Bottom campus. GlobeMed at GWU was represented by two groups of four people, representing two commitments to action regarding our participation in fundraising for the Huye Health Clinic. We committed to continuing our income generation project in RVCP's Maternal Health Education Program and to refurbishing the clinic's structural deficits in the next year. We attended two days of plenaries and workshops with the purpose of improving our committments and networking and attended a service project on the third day of the conference. The most exciting part of this weekend was that CGIU paid for a member of RVCP, Vincent Ndebwnimana, to speak in a workshop about how to motivate the youth. Maya Cohen, the executive director of GlobeMed's national office, also joined Vincent on this panel. In short, CGIU gave us the chance to network with some truly inspiring people while also giving us some quality time with a member of our partner organization.
As far as our partnership with RVCP goes, we are preparing to send this year's Grassroots Onsite Work (GROW) team to Rwanda on May 17th. In addition to our annual committment to fundraise the clinic's Maternal Health Education Program (MHEP), we are currently fundraising to help improve the clinic's walls and roof to increase the functionality of the clinic. Our GROW team is also hard at work on seeking to improve the monitoring and evaluation methods of MHEP so that new record keeping systems can be put into place by the end of the summer. We are approximately $2,000 short of our fundraising goal so far and while we have a few more fundraising events left before the end of the school year, any contribution that you can offer, no matter how small, will really help us and RVCP to maximize the benefits that the mothers enrolled in the Maternal Health Education Program and Income Generation Project will receive. Thank you for your continued support!
Hello and Happy Fall!We hope that you are all doing well and enjoying the gorgeous October weather. We have a lot to share with you all, but first and foremost, we'd like to thank you for continuing to follow our project, even if you just stop by to take a peek at new pictures or reports every now and then. We really appreciate it and are so excited to share our project and our partnership with you! We also have some HUGE NEWS - we've been discussing with RVCP members about holding a Winter Initiative in addition to our usual initiative in the summer. Holding a Winter Initiative would mean that we would double the number of mothers that would receive goats and plots of land to farm for profit, feed their families, and propel the sustainability of the project. The total cost for funding the Winter Initiative is $3,781 and we've been brainstorming ways to make this happen. So here's the big news: a donor has agreed to completely fund our Winter Initiative!!! This is so exciting and we are extremely grateful for your generosity. For those of you who may be new supporters of our project, the Winter Initiative consists of hosting about 12 education sessions for mothers at the Huye Health Clinic about nutrition, education, hygiene, etc. that the women can apply to themselves and their families (especially their children). The women who attend a majority of these sessions are eligible to receive one goat and one plot of land for a year with which they can feed their children and sell excess crops and milk for a profit. At the end of one year, the women return one goat from the original goat's litter and a portion of their profits from farming to the clinic. This serves as their health insurance for the clinic and helps the sustainability of the program by helping to pay for the next group of women. GlobeMed at GW started working on this program with RVCP two years ago and have since called the program the Maternal Health Education Program.Because we now have the funding to sponsor the Winter Initiative, we can now focus on our partner's most immediate need and purpose all of our energy towards accomplishing our next goal. The clinic is in desperate need of two new delivery rooms. As of now, there is one delivery room and one maternity ward at the Huye Health Clinic. The delivery room has only one bed while the maternity ward has three beds. Because this maternity ward supports on average 50 births per month, women often end up delivering on the beds in the maternity ward. Eliphaz, the Head Coordinator at RVCP, has even told us many times about situations where as many as five women come to the clinic in labor at once. The addition of two new delivery rooms will provide the much needed space to support the needs of expecting mothers who come to the clinic. Building these rooms will cost about $12,000 as they are being built from the ground up. We're excited about getting to work on meeting our fundraising goals to make this dream a reality, but we could use some guidance in terms of contacts - who would be willing to donate medical supplies to the clinic, or who would be able to point us in the right direction. Our last bit of RVCP-related news is that we've made some additions to our GlobalGiving Page! Pacifique and Emmanuel have created pages for their own projects within the realm of RVCP. These projects are HIV/AIDS avoidance in 150 Village Young People and Strengthen Hand Washing to 800 Children in Rwanda. Please click through these pages to learn a bit more about their projects and support their cause!
As far as news of our chapter at GW goes, we have had several successful events so far this year! We've had our RwandArt Sale, a bake sale, and our Hydrate for Humanity campaign. To promote team building, we also had our first all-staff retreat last weekend at Summit Lake in Emmittsburg, Maryland where we learned about our partner, new marketing strategies, and each other. Coming up, we are hosting a bar night at Rugby in Georgetown and are currently working on a new awareness event where we will be exhibiting a photo gallery of 6-8 Rwandan mothers who have participated in MHEP and tell their stories through pictures and accounts that our GROW team learned over the summer. The photo gallery exhibit will take place on November 18th from 9am-4pm in Kogan Plaza and admission is free so come learn about our beneficiaries in greater detail!
That's all of the updates we have for now but thanks for reading and as always, we are truly truly grateful for your support. We'll write again soon and stay posted for our Global Giving Holiday Campaign (where we will also be partnering with Beth Springer Hand Bags)! As always, feel free to email us =)Much GlobeMed Love,Eliza Mette and Melissa Wonggwu@globemed.org
Check out some of the new pictures of our project and the patients at the Huye Health Clinic! Our GROW team recently returned from their 7 week trip to Rwanda where they oversaw the Income Generation Project's progress while collaborating with our amazing partner in assessing the needs of the Huye district so we can begin to fulfill those needs with new projects.
Muraho! Hello from the land of 1,000 hills!
The past six weeks have been incredible living in Huye, Rwanda. As yesterday was Liberation Day, the day the Rwandan genocide ended 17 years ago, I feel that it's a perfect time to relay the progress that we have witnessed, particularly in the lives of those who participate in our women's cooperative. A few weeks ago we had the wonderful opportunity to visit almost all 50 women from last year's cooperative at their homes. We were able to meet their children, their goats, and see the land they farm. These amazing women were SO thankful for everything our program has provided them, and much of that is solely a result of the support we received from all of you. All of their children look very healthy. They have been giving them milk from their goats, which has drastically reduced Kwashiorkor (severe malnutrition). They have also been selling the extra milk for food (in addition to the vegetables they are farming themselves). And we got so lucky--all 50 of the goats we purchased for the women are healthy!! Most of them have already had between 1 and 3 babies, and many more are pregnant. The great thing about this is that once they have three extra goats, they are able to exchange them for a cow, which will produce even more milk and more manure for the fields. Cows also imply a higher status in society, giving the women much more confidence and respect.
While it was amazing to see last year's cooperative doing so well, our efforts this year are really focused on the new group of 50 women. The only thing is, there have been an average of 60-65 women at every maternal health education session! They have all witnessed the tremendous progress that their neighbors' and friends' children have made over the past year, and they are all so interested in participating. Because we don't want things to get out of hand and we want to stick to our system, we are still limiting the number of goats given to 50, despite the high numbers of people at the education sessions. However, to ensure that we're reaching the maximum number of people as we can, and to meet the need, we are considering increasing the number of women we reach every year to 100. We would do this by hosting the ten maternal health education sessions twice per year instead of just once. At the tenth session every woman receives their goat. It would be really amazing if we could do this, as we would be increasing our impact so much! But we need your help to get there!!! The waiting room in which the education sessions are now hosted is complete, and the women are all SO excited about that. But now we need more money to continue providing education, goats, and land to the mothers of the Huye District! Your continued support would be tremendously appreciated by GlobeMed, RVCP, and most importantly the mothers and children you are helping.
Unfortunately Rwandan internet does not allow us to post pictures, but upon return to the US we will be showing you pictures of the women and children you are supporting, along with pictures of their goats and land. We hope that you'll continue to stay engaged in our work and proud of the progress you have contributed to! Thank you so much again for all of your support, and we look forward to updating you more once the education sessions have been completed!
All the best,
Happy Spring, everyone! It's April again, a month full of energy and life here in Washington, DC. With the cherry blossoms blooming and the streets bustling with activity, the sun seems to be shining a little brighter these days. For our friends in Rwanda, this month has also been about brighter days. April is a month of both mourning and moving on in the country. Just seventeen years ago a tragic genocide occurred that took place over a few short weeks in April, 1994. The month witnessed nearly one million deaths and millions more displaced citizens; the health system weakened tremendously and Rwandans were left with broken families and shattered lives.
Yet if there is ever a country that has proven the power of human resilience it is Rwanda. Today the country is on its way to becoming a model for developing countries across the globe, witnessing tremendous improvements in all key health indicators over the past ten years. So while this April is a time for mourning in Rwanda, it is also one for moving on. In fact, for fifty women in the Huye District, this month is particularly significant--it is corn harvesting month. Below is a picture of Donatha Mukantwali, the Treasurer of the women's cooperative at the Huye Health Clinic. Here she is with her children, ready to take home dinner after a long day of harvesting corn. Because of the generosity of all of our supporters, she and others will have one less thing to worry about in this month of mourning. Thank you!
Between May 2 and May 20 GlobalGiving is hosting a Recurring Donation Campaign. The projects with the most recurring donors get up to $12,000 in bonuses! If you'd like to consider supporting this project, please see this link to find out how to set up a recurring donation. I know I will once I graduate and move on next month!
So from the women's cooperative, our amazing partner RVCP and the GlobeMed at GWU Team, thanks so much for helping to make April a month of moving on and making progress in Rwanda. We look forward to updating you from the field this summer!
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GlobeMed at GWU Co-President