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 w...
Jan 19, 2016

December 2015

December was a very eventful month for Mpoma Community HIV/AIDS Initiative. The second biannual WASH Training meeting took place on December 11, 2015, due entirely to the incredible organizational efforts of our partners on ground. The speakers invited included a doctor from the clinic, a representative from the local sub-county government, and most excitingly, representatives from a couple of the Water User Committees. Topics on the agenda ranged from waterborne illnesses to sanitation demonstrations, and a great deal of time was allotted for group discussion regarding WUC progress. This meeting was an excellent opportunity for WUCs to share concerns and trade success stories, providing them with new insight that will hopefully help them kick off the new year with a new edge.

 

Other exciting updates:

  • Three out of five WUCs have now opened savings accounts at the local bank, allowing them to receive the matching funds they were awarded in June.
  • The newest water source, Lukalu II, has begun receiving water and is now officially functional.
  • The core Mpoma team has just been joined by a representative from the Waluga WUC, making it even easier for the WUCs to voice their opinions.

 

It’s looking like 2016 is going to be Mpoma’s most productive year yet!

Nov 10, 2015

November 2015

The complete WUC training package.
The complete WUC training package.

Since our last project report, our GROW team has safely returned to Los Angeles, and the Mpoma team has rapidly begun to break ground on the next phase of our WASH project. The summer ended on a high note, when the GROW team and the Mpoma team organized and held the first ever formal Biannual WASH Training. All five water user committees (WUCs) were in attendance, along with representatives from the local sub-county government, and everyone was trained on important topics such as symptoms of waterborne disease and the importance of drafting bylaws. The WUCs also received comprehensive training packages (developed by the GROW team in partnership with the Mpoma team), and signed MOU’s acknowledging that receiving their matching money is contingent upon opening bank accounts. Before going home, the GROW team also sat down with the Mpoma team and mapped out the budget for the 2015-2016 year, the majority of which is allocated to the building and repairing of four new water sources.

Construction has already begun on one of these water sources— Lukalu 2. Lukalu is one of the largest villages we’ve been working in, and one water source simply wasn’t enough to support the population. A new water user committee has already been elected to oversee the new water source, and the Mpoma team is planning to conduct a comprehensive training with them in the next few weeks.

The Mpoma team has also been making strides to build the capacity of the existing WUCs since our first biannual meeting in July. They have already begun helping four WUCs assemble their applications to open up savings accounts the local bank— they are now in the process of taking passport-quality photos. They have also drafted an outreach schedule, and are visiting approximately two villages a week to check on any progress they’ve made regarding community WASH trainings.

Lastly, the Mpoma team has begun to look ahead to the second week of December, when the second Biannual WASH Training is scheduled to take place. We have decided to design certificates of achievement for the WUCs that have raised the most money or conducted the most WASH trainings— these certificates are being designed in Los Angeles by members of the GlobeMed chapter, and will be emailed to Mpoma to be printed and distributed at the WASH Training. We are also beginning to plan training topics we wish to focus on, and brainstorming other tools or materials we can provide the WUCs in order for them to best fulfil their roles.

A few WUC members who attended the WASH Training.
A few WUC members who attended the WASH Training.
The WASH Training agenda.
The WASH Training agenda.
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
 
   

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