To our friends, family, and supporters,
To celebrate the beginning of GlobeMed at Columbia's Individual Giving campain, we asked our chapter members to write "This I believe" statements to share with their family and friends as they talk about what GlobeMed has meant to them. The responses were beautiful, with members saying "I believe that inaction towards global disparity is unacceptable," and "I believe that everyone deserves to achieve happiness." And we began to think about how GlobeMed's partnership with the Gulu Women's Economic Development and Globalization has influenced what we believe in. Some of the most meaningful lessons we have learned have come through the stories we have witnessed in our time at GlobeMed. And so this will be the theme of our Individual Giving campaign for the winter of 2013: the stories that shape what we believe. Every other week, we will share the story of an individual who has inspired us to believe in the work that GWED-G is doing. Our Individual Giving campaign is dedicated to these men and women. As you read these stories and consider the values and beliefs that have shaped your life, we hope you consider supporting our project during this holiday season.
Alice: age 29
At first, Alice didn’t know she was HIV positive, but she heard rumors in her village that her husband was infected. However, she ignored them because she didn’t want to take the issue seriously. When asked to get tested, Alice refused, afraid that she would have to take drugs. It was very difficult for her to believe that she might be positive. Even when she became pregnant at age 26, she decided again not to test herself.
Finally, a GWED-G campaign changed her mind. A few of Alice’s friends convinced her to attend a community sensitization session with them. As she listened to the program, she heard about other mothers who were able to have healthy babies, despite the fact that they were HIV positive. When she went home that night, she talked to her husband and told him that they needed to go to the hospital to get tested. Unfortunately, when the results came in, both her and her husband were diagnosed as HIV positive.
After realizing that she had the virus, Alice became incredibly stressed and didn’t want to talk to anyone. Feeling helpless and confused, Alice approached Grace, one of GWED-G’s Village Health workers and HIV caretakers, asking for help. Grace counseled Alice and visited her in her home. When Alice heard that GWED-G’s HIV program was looking to support HIV positive mothers, she said she was interested. After talking to her and her husband, GWED-G enrolled her in a program focused on prevention of mother to child trasmission of HIV.
Thanks to the services provided in the program, Alice delivered an HIV negative baby. She says that GWED-G’s intervention changed her life, because otherwise she would have just given birth at home with no antenatal care and her baby would most likely have been HIV positive. Because Alice shared the knowledge she learned from the sensitization with her husband, he chose to support her decision to become part of the program and even joined with her. When GWED-G gave the family bean seeds, her husband helped her farm the land and plant them. Currently, Alice has given birth to two healthy HIV negative boys.
This story inspired us to believe in the power of community action to create tangible change. If you believe in the power of this story as well, we hope you will consider supporting this project.
Nicole Dussault and Menaka Dhingra
Dear family and friends,
Summer is almost over and the GlobeMed at Columbia team is getting ready to start the new year! We have some exciting updates from GWED-G and are getting ready to unveil our new proejct for 2013-2014. We can't wait to start a new semester of fundraising and awareness campaigns, and we hope you will continue to follow our activities and support us as wonderfully as you have in the past.
Our Grassroots On Site Work team wrapped up their activities in Gulu, Uganda at the end of June and have spent the past few months preparing the media and stories collected from the field to share with you all. Look forward to stories from our beneficiaries and new photos documenting field activities, as well as some interviews of the HIV positive mothers in our groups and some of the GWED-G staff as well! The team also helped design the new project for this year, which we will share with you all in the beginning of September. In the meantime, here is a brief summary of GWED-G's activities from their quarterly report.
GWED-G's main goal for Maternal Health projects is to decrease the infant mortality rate, which has risen in the past years to 438 deaths per 100,000 live births. Despite the daunting challenges in achieving their target reduction, GWED-G has continued implementing awareness and treatment campaigns on the parish, community, and home level over the past few months. They have also continued their work with maternal health and family planning as well as ANC and PMTCT care.
A second strategy towards reducing the infant mortality rate that GWED-G has been using is engagement with local officials. GWED-G is working with District Health Officers and VHTs to ensure that health facilities and existing government health stuctures are being properly and fully utilized. They have also been advocating for educational campaigns for children, which will serve as a preventative measure against the spread of HIV/AIDS and will facilitate proper family planning.
GWED-G has also been trying their best to ensure that all the mothers our project is responsible for are receiving proper antenatal care. However, transportation to health centers is proving to be an issue for many of the women. Some of the women's husbands refuse to take them for treatment, and they cannot afford to hire a motorcycle taxi to take them. GWED-G will be working with GlobeMed in our new project to address issues such as these. On a brighter note, 30 of the mothers received safe birth kits which will allow them to have HIV negative babies.
The GROW team was able to see the VHTs' work while in Uganda, as well as distribute the incentives promised to them by our project. The VHTs received soap and sugar as well as bicycles while the GROW team was on site. They were also invited to a planning meeting where they were able to discuss training strategies as well as some of the challenges that they face in their daily work, such as transportation and lack of official materials to distribute to the community (i.e. informational pamphlets, flyers, etc.).
You can read about the rest of the activities conducted by GWED-G this quarter in the attached report, including blood screenings for HIV and GBV awareness and sensitization sessions. We will be revealing our new project within the next few weeks; we can't wait for you all to see what GWED-G and GlobeMed at Columbia have planned for the new year!
In the meantime, stay happy and healthy!
GlobeMed at Columbia
Over the past few months, GWED-G has been rolling out the various components of our project. As a refresher, there are four main areas that our project addresses:
Here are some of the highlights from the field!
Community sensitization on HIV/AIDS prevention:
In the community sensitization initiative, the main concern is to address the high prevalence of HIV infection in the community. Topics addressed include: HIV modes of transmission and different preventive strategies (such as Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, PMTCT), the benefits and importance of ante-natal care, family planning, early diagnosis of HIV, referral of infected persons for treatment, effective condom use, and adherence to treatment. During the interactive sessions GWED-G staff and community members discuss some of the main contributing factors to the high prevalence of HIV, such as poverty, alcoholism, and adultery. Awareness sessions are highly attended; in one session that focused on maternal and newborn health, over 67 women and youth participated. Blood screening mobilizations have also begun in order to test community members for HIV status.
Formation of a new women’s group in Giragira parish:
A new women’s group was formed in Giragira parish, Labongogali health centre III. Women are important targets for HIV services because they act as change agents to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the community. The formation of this new group will expand the program for PMTCT services to hard to reach villages. GWED-G also strengthened its collaboration with the local health center staff to ensure that mothers are referred for safe delivery at the heath facilities. Most babies in the women’s group were able to be delivered at the health center, which helps reduce the chances of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and also decreases the risk of maternal and infant death during childbirth. When the women in the group meet, they follow up on the HIV positive mothers, counsel and encourage each other to receive medical attention in the health centers, and discuss how to reduce Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in their communities. Another component of the women’s group is a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), which is a form of community based savings and investment. Women in the group also receive seeds as a form of income generation, which is an important factor in the health of the women and their families. The strength of this project is that it empowers women on many dimensions: health, as they connect to the health centers; economic, as they engage in income generation and savings programs; and personal, as they become role models in their communities.
Meeting with youth groups on VSLA and reproductive health programs:
Under the goal of working with youth groups (composed of men ages 18-35) to continue economic empowerment and HIV prevention, meeting were conducted in various parishes of Coke, Agwayugi and Palema in Lamogi Sub County. The activities began with the training of the youth on VSLA concepts and methodology to help in the selection, planning and management of income generating activities. Emphasis was laid on record keeping, savings, and credit skills. The youth also received vegetables seeds and were able to begin planting their crops. The aim was the enhancement of the livelihood capacities of the youth to enable them to meet their basic needs and thus be better advocates for the right to health amongst the youth in the communities. A total of 90 youths participated in promoting reproductive health education, such as condoms use, and offering free counseling services to fellow youth. All these activities were aimed at promoting a sustainable system of HIV prevention within the communities.
Support to health facilities with hospital equipment
Under the objective of supporting health facilities with hospital equipment, GWED-G and GlobeMed at Columbia donated safe birth kits and baby breathing kits to Kaladima health centre III. The equipment improved the work of the health staff at the health center by providing them with protective gear such as gloves, gowns, and forceps, and baby breathing equipment that provides oxygen during difficult medical conditions encountered at the time of delivery, such as asphyxia, which can case neonatal mortality. Since health centers often lack basic supplies, expecting mothers are usually responsible for providing materials for their own deliveries. By providing safe birth kits, GWED-G enables these mothers to give birth in a health facility. Furthermore, 30 children under the program benefited from a nutritional food supplement of bovine colostrum. During the distributions, a community education session on the benefits of proper nutrition was conducted.
Hello family and friends!
We hope you are all happy and healthy and that your new years are off to a wonderful start. GlobeMed at Columbia resumed our activities on January 27th after a long and restful winter break. We have two new co-presidents, Nicole Dussault and Menaka Dhingra, as well as several new members, with a final count for the spring semester of 36 staff. GWED-G has been doing quite well, and we have several great updates and progress to share with you all! Before we get started, feel free to refresh your memory on our project by reading the cheat sheet and MOU.
GWED-G officially started activities for the new year on January 7th and are continuing to work on our project; January was devoted to planning meetings and creating work plans for year 2013. In addition to planning, GWED-G began conducting several activities in the community. Pamela, the head of GWED-G, has also been traveling to Kampala to prepare for the upcoming conference in the summer, which we will share more details about in our upcoming updates.
GWED-G workers met with Village Health Teams (VHTs) to ensure their full and active participation in the implementation of our project. Each VHT conducted 3-5 outreaches per month to families of bed-ridden patients and people living with HIV/AIDS. GWED-G also provided continuous referrals to prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and antenatal care (ANC) services for 6 mothers. The mothers were referred by VHTs and Peer Educators at the community level, including male role models who took an active role in the process. The VHT meetings are also aiming to establish new women's groups that will benefit from the livelihood projects. GWED-G is ensuring that the VHTs follow up with the criteria for selection in these groups.
Mobilization and identification of potential women as beneficiaries of our livelihood projects are ongoing. These women will be directly linked to PMTCT and ANC services at the different community health facilities. GWED-G is aiming to identify 40 expectant and lactating mothers this year. Towards the end of the year, they will ensure that these mothers have safe births and healthy babies. As of now, 10 mothers have been enrolled; the process is continuous and challenging because the number of potential beneficiaries is too high and GWED-G is having difficulty in deciding who should not be included. The enrollment process will conclude at the end of this month. The decisions on the livelihood/IGA options for the women's groups will be made once these 40 women have been identified.
In addition, follow-up was conducted on the youth groups supported by the seed distribution livelihood project. Two groups in the communities of Coke and Palema raised gardens that are growing well, yielding cabbages, eggplant, green peppers, and onions. One group's plantations were damaged by flood. One awareness raising campaign on HIV/AIDS prevention, maternal health, and newborn care was also conducted, with over 67 men, women, and youths in attendance. Issues discussed included prevention strategies, risk management, family planning, and reproductive health needs for women living with HIV/AIDS. 30 children under the nutrition program benefited from food supplements of bovine colostrum. While these supplements are being distributed, workers also educate the community on the benefits of nutritional uptakes. Mobilizations for blood screens also began, and patients on ARVs were encouraged to continue visiting health facilities in case of ill health.
As you can see, GWED-G has had an incredibly productive start to the year! We will continue updating you on their progress as the year goes on; we are very excited to see what amazing things we will accomplish together. Remember, even though our individual giving campaign is winding down there are still plenty of opportunities to donate! We appreciate your continued support and interest in our project and GWED-G's work. Feel free to visit our website for more details on our chapter and GWED-G media. A belated happy new year to you all!
Dearest friends and family,
We hope that you all had relaxing family time over your Thanksgiving breaks! I know the members of GlobeMed at Columbia were glad to have a break from the hustle and bustle of Columbia.
While we were all celebrating our American holiday, GWED-G staff was busy in Uganda laying the groundwork for the additions to our project in the coming year. Our project's foundation still lies in HIV/AIDS prevention and maternal health, but now has additions that will make it more comprehensive and effective. Through the GROW team's conversations with beneficiaries, they determined that transportation, nutrition, and economic opportunity are severely lacking in the rural communities of Northern Uganda. This year, we are aiming to provide voluntary community health workers with bicycles and incentives, provide women and youth groups with livelihood activities, and provide HIV positive women and children with nutrition education and access to nutrition supplements. We also want to incorporate gender based violence (GBV) prevention education into rural community sensitizations.
Since May, we have been collaborating with GWED-G to create a project work plan, a memorandum of understanding (MoU), and a comprehensive budget for our 2013 project. Also since May, GWED-G has been gearing up for these additions, as well as trying to implement some of them before the official start of our project. Most recently, they have identified 46 children in need of food supplements. GWED-G will distribute ColoPlus, a nutritional supplement provided to GWED-G by a Swedish donor, in the coming weeks to these children. While this will technically be part of our former project, it lays the foundation for continuing the nutrition portion of our project.
GWED-G has also been scheduling meetings with different groups of beneficiaries to find out what they want specifically out of the project. They will meet with women and youth groups to determine what kind of livelihood they want to pursue, whether it’s in the form of vegetable seeds, groundnut seeds, or livestock raising. At the meetings with women’s groups, GWED-G will ask the beneficiaries to nominate 40 more HIV positive, pregnant women that will benefit from prevention of mother to child transmission education and livelihood. A GWED-G staff member who works on GBV prevention will also attend these meetings in order to assess the need for community dialogues on GBV education within rural sensitization campaigns. GWED-G will meet with community health workers to determine what types of incentives, besides bicycles, will motivate them to conduct more outreach. These might include soap, sugar, or salt.
We cannot wait to hear the results of these meetings and how our beneficiaries receive the additions to our project. Their input was the basis for designing our new project, so we hope that they are energized about the new steps that we as GlobeMed at Columbia and GWED-G are taking to improve their lives.
No matter what the incentives for community health workers or the livelihood activities for our women and youth end up being, our budget for this year is higher than ever. We need to raise $21,522 to accomplish our goals. Attached to this project update is our budget breakdown, memorandum of understanding, and project work plan that will enable you to understand how each objective is executed and how much money goes towards each. You can also check this Project Cheat Sheet, a summarized version of the how, why, and what of our project.
GlobeMed at Columbia has also launched a new website to support our 2012 Individual Giving campaign. It has photos of Gulu, GWED-G, beneficiaries, and our members, as well as descriptions of our project objectives, our chapter, and our partner. We hope that it is informative and aesthetically pleasing!
Happy Holidays!GlobeMed at Columbia
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