Friday, July 31, 2015

Buwoira: HIV Health Day

Hello again from Buwoira! We’re more than halfway through our stay in the village, and time is flying by. So much has happened in these past few weeks, including but not limited to: the implementation of emergency pee buckets, a team trip to Sipi Falls, the sickness and then health of our two lovely team leaders, and the (almost) mastery of our village chores.

But in addition to gaining arm muscle from lifting heavy jerry cans, we’ve also made major progress in completing our work in the villa ge. We’ve finished collecting follow up sanitation surveys and most significant change surveys, hosted a successful HIV day, and have begun focusing on conducting sensitizations in the community, including one at a local primary school.

Our biggest success thus far has definitely been our HIV health day. We were able to test and give results to 162 people for HIV and Malaria, not including children, as well as provide free Malaria treatment, HIV counseling, and immunizations for children. Ainslee and Fiona brought a group of children from our neighborhood to the event so they could get tested for Malaria, and shockingly, 11 out of 12 tested positive. We were heartbroken that these kids we love to play with every day were sick, but we are so glad that they were able to come, get tested, and get treatment. We heard from some of their parents that they have taken their full course of medication, and we’ve all noticed a change in their health as they play on our front porch. The youngest child, called Naka, used to sleep, cry, and lag behind the others, but now she is all smiles, chatty, and full of energy!

Deanna and Ruth watching drama group perform at HIV Day.
 Overall our event was a success. Not only did we test and give treatment to so many people, we also worked with an HIV drama group and completed our first sensitization on HIV. We’re so happy to have reached so many community members!

Ainslee and our neighborhood children, about to get tested at HIV Day.
While our work has been going well, we have also faced our fair share of challenges in the village. For one, we’ve all had trouble dealing with the tragic, sudden passing of our two beloved goat friends: Herbert and Sebastian. The two baby goats and their mother were eaten in the night by a wild dog, and now their brother, Godfrey, runs around the neighborhood alone. Hearing his lonely bleats has taken a toll on us all as we grieve. RIP to our dear friends.

Our VHTs have also brought some other, work related challenges to our attention. In a meeting with the five of them, they told us that they are often not taken seriously or respected by village members during their work. Many villagers are unaware of their purpose and who they are and question their authority when they tell them to make changes in health or sanitation. Our VHTs are essential and help to continue our work when we leave, so we’ve made raising awareness and respect for them a priority. During survey collection and sensitizations, we introduce them to the community and explain their role, making sure people understand their importance. We love our VHTs and continue to be impressed by their knowledge and hard work and hope that we can improve their position in the village!

With only three weeks left, we are all excited to hold more sensitizations and continue to make a difference in Buwoira. Between competitive bouts of Monkey in the Middle, discussions about food, and chapters of our favorite books, we’ll be mobilizing for our next education session, practicing skits, and making sure our local leaders have tippy taps. 

Itanda Primary School sensitization, interns teaching hand washing song.

Toodaloo—Buwoira out! Xoxo

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Nabirere A: A successful HIV Outreach Day


        This past Wednesday we held our HIV Outreach day in collaboration with St. Mary’s Hospital. While we focused primarily on HIV, there was also de-worming and immunizations for children as well as malaria tests and treatment available for anyone. During these events, UVP provides testing and counseling along with skits performed by a drama group and a sensitization given by our team, The day started slow, “village time” struck again, and the vaccines, de-worming pills and condoms were not available initially. However, everything eventually settled into place and the day picked up when testing began.

            The highlight of the day came in the afternoon when we mobilized with drama group. To drum up extra excitement, we loaded into the back of their pickup truck and danced and chanted, “Nabirere A, awo kumusigiticet!” or “Nabirere A, go to the mosque!” We quickly amassed a small army of children who followed us to the mosque for the skits. The drama group began with traditional dancing and songs about HIV. Some of our team members were pulled into the dance circle, and even though our hip shaking abilities paled in comparison to the drama dancers, the community seemed to really enjoy us and several people have told us they are looking forward to our next show. As much as they liked the dancing, the drama group really captured the crowd’s attention. Despite the “heavy” nature of the topic, the drama group had the crowd laughing a lot. The drunken fool character seemed to be a particular crowd favorite.

            Our team’s sensitization was the last act of the day. We went over the basics; what is HIV, how it is transmitted, signs and symptoms, prevention methods, how to live positively if you’re HIV positive, and a Q&A session. The community asked a lot of good questions, mostly about the routes of transmission. For example, could bed bugs infect people or how long the virus could survive outside the body? Overall, out team really enjoyed the day and we think it was a great success; we tested 148 people for HIV and many others for malaria. We hope the community learned something from the day and our sensitization, but we will be holding other sensitization sessions in the upcoming weeks to reinforce the key messages about HIV.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Kitukiro: Baseline Surveys and HIV outreaches

A big Jambo (hello) from Kitukiro! We are over half way done and are eager to keep our work rolling. We have completed baseline surveys and were able to survey 98 out of our 160 households. We are very happy we were able to reach so many households in just 8 days of surveying! We were able to analyze the data and pick out myths people had and also realize areas that need further education. We will be using that data to create our sensitizations. We think the data collected shows us a good representation of the education level in Kitukiro.

While we were surveying, we did a lot of mobilization for an upcoming outreach and held our HIV Day on July 21st. We had a team from St. Mary's join us and were able to have 128 people tested for HIV and 213 people tested for malaria. Many people were able to receive medication and get support. The people of Kitukiro were very happy with our services and we received very positive feedback from the village. We have not held other sensitizations yet and we hope that having a successful health day will help encourage more people to come to our future events.

Another success for our team has been retraining our VHTs using our own curriculum. Each VHT is responsible for a certain health concern in the village, so it is of utmost importance that our VHT's are informed and help us dispel common misconceptions. Our VHTs were excited about the training. It is our hope that our VHTs are confident in their health knowledge by the time we leave so that they can continue to be valuable assets to the people of Kitukiro.

Also, both our fearless team leaders are ill with malaria causing our team to have to work harder and have better team work to have everything fall into place correctly. We are doing great with that and our team is working very well together!

We are looking forward to further VHT training and sensitizations on sanitation, family planning, and malaria. Lots to do in the next 3 weeks!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kitukiro Killer Whales


 Welcome to Kitukiro! We are a group of 5 people from both Uganda and the United States that are excited to see all that we can do in Uganda. We arrived in Kitukiro Thursday, June 25th and were eager to set up our quaint house on the edge of the village. We have dirt floors and bought pieces of flooring to cover the dirt floors and reduce the dust. This green flooring helped add a homey touch! As we were setting up, we noticed quite a few furry co-inhabitants running up the walls. These rats sure don’t mind that we have taken up residence in their home. The morning after we arrived, we received a call from our director saying we had to be temporarily relocated due to a bed bug infestation in the neighboring villages. This was especially tough for our group because we didn’t have time to settle in before we were packing up our stuff so that our house could be sprayed for bed bugs.

                In the coming days, we are holding a community meeting to introduce ourselves, Uganda Village Project, and give villagers a basic agenda for the next 6 week while we are living in Kitukiro. We are very fortunate that our village is filled with many friendly faces, lots of waves, and positive attitudes about us moving in. We have been greeted warmly and are excited to see how baseline surveying goes for the next two weeks. We will be partnering with our Village Health Team (VHT) for surveying, which will hopefully give us some extra credibility with the villagers of Kitukiro. We have high hopes of positive feedback about the surveys. Kitukiro has a high need for health education and we are all grateful we have been selected to educate in such a beautiful village. Our attitudes towards the rest of the summer remain positive!

Webale! (Thank you)

The Kitukiro Killer Whales (Ken, Anna, Susan, Allison, and Becca) 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Nabirere A Video Blogs!

Q: How difficult is it to learn Lusoga?

As an international intern, language is one of the greatest barriers we face, so we have quickly begun learning some useful phrases. On our team, Nabirere A, we have a “phrase of the day” that is especially relevant to upcoming activities. The fact that our first phrase of the day was “bana nga kitano” or “I am sorry for your loss” for a funeral we attended on our first Monday in Nabirere A is telling of the dire health situation of our village. Happily, our next phrase was a short welcoming song for our community meeting, “tusangaire leero, tusangaire olwa leero luuna! Tusangaire leero,  bonaeiwange bweri sangaire!”

Lusoga is phonetic, although some of the letters are pronounced differently than in English, for example “L” sounds “r”, which makes it much easier to learn than the Danish birthday song we tried to learn for Stine’s birthday! Learning common greeting and thanking phrases is also important because it is a good way to immediately show our respect and commitment to the community and our job. I am hoping and expecting to learn a lot more Lusoga in the coming weeks as we begin conducting the household surveys!

                                                                                    -Simone, Switzerland

Q: Have you made any friends in the village so far?

I am not sure if you would categorize the children in the village as friends or fans. Shortly after returning to our house after the daily activities, the same gang of three-year-old children is hanging out on our front porch. On one hand, they are really excited about talking and playing with us, but on the other hand, they are terribly shy and spend most of the time giggling and hiding behind the slim poles. 

Our attempts to interact with the children have been more or less successful. One of the less successful moments was when our VHT Moses’s four month-old child peed on me. I don’t know if the baby boy Steve was really terrified or really confident, but one thing is for sure; making the children become our friends is a long process.

                                                                                                -Stine, Denmark

Q: How interesting was it to set up the sanitary facilities?

I for one had never gotten involved in setting up a sanitary facility so it was such an interesting experience for me. The sanitary facilities we needed to set up included the trash pit, tippy tap and the plate stand.

Materials needed;
-Hoes and a shovel (for the trash pit)
-A string, pieces of wood, a jerrycan and a nail for (the tippy tap)
 We are still looking forward to setting up the plate stand (we need more pieces of wood and nails for this)

The trash pit; we had to find the best site for the trash pit, more preferably a softer ground that would make excavation easier. The standard size of the trash pit had to be 4ftx4ftx4ft. It was so interesting how one of us had to do the excavation and have someone else using the shovel to scoop out the accumulated soil. This made me realize how energetic our team was. However, we weren’t able to meet the standard depth of the trash pit because there was a more complicated, though interesting layer of rocks that we had to dig through to make the pit 4ft deep.

The tippy tap; this required us to apply some physics to make the facility a functional one. Terms like ‘fulcrum’ and ‘pivot joints’ had to be applied. I found this interesting too. The soap on the side of the tippy was placed in a more interesting way that I find a bit hard to describe. I was so glad that our tippy was functional at the end of it.
                                                                        -Solome, Uganda

Q: What has been your favorite chore in the village?

Water Fetching! Our house typically fetches water two times a day with our three 20 liter jerrycans. Not only is water fetching a great arm work out, but also a chore that involves interaction with the community. It takes us around 20-30 minutes to collect water, depending on how long the lines is at the borehole. Thankfully, we have two boreholes that are fairly close to our house, but for some families they travel a significant distance to get water. During most of my trips to the borehole, children are the typical crowd hanging around waiting to fill up multiple jerrycans for their family. Whenever I go fetch water, I look forward to the infectious amount of giggles from the kids.

                                                                                                            - Tali, United States

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Buwoira - Ready to Use Girl Power to Tackle Malaria and Sanitation

It’s been one week since we came to Buwoira and we have been consistently walking and working in the village. Life in the village is something that we have all had to adjust to—even with electricity to charge our phones and laptops.

The Buwoira team is made up of all women: Ainslee, Ali, Deanna, Fiona, Mia, and Ruth. We all come from different backgrounds and are able to contribute something unique to the team. We have found that spending time together and learning about each other’s lives outside the internship has bonded us as a team and as friends. As a team, we are looking forward to the experiences the next few weeks will bring us.  

This week we’ve become well acquainted with some of our neighbors (both humans and animals) and have been welcomed into the Buwoira community. Our cook Medina and her daughter Aisha are at our house every day helping with chores and laughing (encouragingly?) at our attempts at Lusoga (Wasuze otya eyo!). Aisha is sweet and likes to run up from behind and tickle us, help us fetch water, and occasionally scare other kids away from our compound with a fuzzy caterpillar. A small horde of young children often appears on our front porch, spying on us through our front door and yelling “Mzungu Jambo! Mzungu Jambo!” For now the game is cute and endearing, but we will see if that changes as time goes on. And, of course, there’s our VHT (Village Health Team member) Ronald, who comes around to visit us every day. Although quiet, Ronald has been so kind and helpful, showing us around the village and buying as Mendaza from the market.

            A trio of adolescent goats that we named Herbert, Sebastian, and Godfrey constantly run around our compound. Herbert loves to enter our house and explore, and at this point we might make him sign our living contract! Other animal encounters include an obscenely large rooster who likes to walk around and crow at all hours, a confused mouse that wandered into our house one night, and the many flies that hang around our latrine when it needs smoking (sorry Deanna!)

We are generally woken up at 7am by Ugandan conversations held by people nearby. While bathing, there are people working ten feet away and the occasional motorcycle rides behind the back of our house. The land appears to be communal as animals are allowed to roam the village and the only time a fence is seen is around a trash pit. We are living in a shared place in Buwiora, where there are no visible boundaries for animals, kids, people, and happiness.

On our second day in the village we were returning from a walk when we saw a man running with a child in his arm
s. At first we laughed at the odd sight, until we learned that the child had malaria, and the man was running to the local health center, which was not nearby. That was our first heartbreaking glimpse at what a serious problem malaria is in Buwoira.

After talking to local leaders and visiting the local health center, we were even more aware of the burden of malaria in our village. The woman in charge of the local health center informed us that they see 15-20 new cases of malaria per day. Though the clinic has medicine to treat malaria, it runs out very quickly, leaving individuals to their own devices to find treatment. As many villagers are unable to travel great distances to seek health services elsewhere, this makes preventing malaria a top priority in Buwoira. We are excited to work with our Village Health Team, local leaders, and the local health center to help villagers prevent malaria and keep themselves and their families healthy.

Another part of our work includes surveying the village which requires us to enter different homes to inspect their required facilities, such as a toilet, plate stand, trash pit, tippy tap, and bathroom (shower area).  We have realized that most people know why they should have the facilities, however the facilities do not meet the required standard. We get the impression that they try their best to use the materials available to them to meet sanitation and hygiene requirements in their homes. Overall, we have been given a warm welcome during the follow-up surveys and people get pretty excited when “mzungu” educate them.

At this moment, I am just so proud of all my teammates for the amazing people they are and for adjusting quickly to this kind of life that our friends call “crazy”! 

Nabirere B - Settling into our home

Hello from Nabirere B! Three weeks ago I arrived in Africa for the very first time and so far it has been quite the experience, to say the least. In my short time here, I have experienced gripping boda boda rides, 20-person matatu drives, soccer games with local kids fascinated by the muzungus (“English-speaking people”) that have moved in next door, bucket showers, bore holes, prayer calls, consistent commotion from turkeys, goats, and cows, daily malaria prophylaxis, three late night village dance parties, one squeaky bat, and two burials. I have learned how build a tippy tap in lieu of a bathroom sink, how to greet both men and women in Lusoga, and (my proudest accomplishment) how to aim into a pit latrine. I have discovered the luxuries that are electricity, running water, and wifi, and have promised to never again take any of them for granted.

Our team is a diverse mix of nationalities, educational backgrounds, and personalities. With three Americans, two Ugandans and an Australian, we literally come from all over the world. Every one of us has studied or is currently studying public health in some regard, focuses being on maternal and child health, environmental health, social work, health education, and global health. We have all taken on our various roles around the house: Keneth, the ultimate Boy Scout and go-to guy for questions about village life and historical conspiracy theories; Lorna, who has a knack for attracting children from across town to be her minions; Ivan, our very own Lil Wayne who provides us with relationship advice and booty-shaking entertainment; Caila the house momma who keeps us all consistently hydrated; Nicole mastering her Lusoga flashcards and providing us all with up-to-date WHO statistics on Uganda; and me, I brought the Sriracha.

We started off the summer with a weeklong orientation in Iganga with the other UVP interns and staff. If I was to choose the single most important thing we learned it would be that we can’t get hung up on the things we don’t have here in the village, but we need to focus on how to succeed with the things we do have. (In reality the most practical thing I learned was that cars and boda bodas on the street will NOT stop for you, so jump out of the way if they are headed your direction, but I think the other tidbit of wisdom will be a little more impactful for our team’s mission as a whole.) We have already begun forming solid relationships with community members, and have started to recognize the specific needs of the village. There is a huge health knowledge gap here in Nabirere B that we aim to fill, and I believe our team is passionate about improving the health of the community long-term.

Next Thursday we are hosting a massive community HIV day, where we will be providing HIV testing, counseling, educational sessions, and drama performances. This is our first outreach day and we hope to have a big community turnout. We have already heard people asking when the mzungus are going to start teaching the people about health, so I am confident that these next 6 weeks will be exciting, enlightening, and successful!!

                                                                                                -Sarah D., United States

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kasambika - Diving into a Community VHT Event

            No more than 48 hours after settling in to our new home in the quiet agricultural village of Kasambika, we were heading off to a community event with one of our VHTs (Village Health Trainers), and new friend, Swagga. It was just our 2nd morning in the village. We enjoyed a peaceful jaunt past homes accompanied by the smiling faces of local children yelling “Muzungu muzungu!”, the colloquial term for “English-speaking person” in the native language of Lusoga.

            Upon arrival to the “meeting”, we were led into a large tent where beautiful tapestries blew gently in the wind while children ran around in every direction in the background. The attendees were either standing in their place clapping or dancing in the tent’s center where a group of women danced in traditional Ugandan garb. There was so much to look at! We sat in on this meeting where health and development project donations were being collected and celebrated, while various groups began to explain the focus of their different community development projects. After introducing ourselves with all the Lusoga we could muster, we were treated with more dancing and amiable greetings from what seemed like the whole village. Then, the dancing women insisted on us dancing with them, wrapping shawls around our waists, excited to see what the foreigners could do. Despite some less than impressive “swaying” from our group, the entire audience loved our dancing and we received wild, jubilant ululations.

            Shortly after, we were led on a tour throughout the host family’s property, on a inspection of their household’s health and sanitation facilities: tippy tap, trash pit, latrine, plate stand, and kitchen. It was very nice to see the various facilities we had been learning so much about in a real setting. Other group members on the tour were to inspect, rate, and then award an overall score out of 100%. A good score meant the household would receive monetary gifts, which they did with a score of 81%. We came to learn that this group was set up with the aims of fighting poverty, ignorance, and diseases. The monetary gift exchange is done periodically of which every member gets a chance to benefit. The money is meant to help the members to invest in developmental projects intended to improve their livelihoods.

            Agreeing that the family had a good grasp on each facility’s requirements, we were cordially invited into the home for a small afternoon meal. Despite a late lunch less than an hour before, we accepted the kind invitation and were presented with a delicious plate of beef, rice, and matooke, to be enjoyed with nothing more than our own two hands, something we all seem to enjoy perhaps a little too much.

            After the meal, we took a photo with all of the event officials, said our goodbyes, thanked everyone for the invitation and hospitality, and were on our way. Needless to say, an ambiguous “local village event” turned out to be the perfect way to begin our trip with UVP in Kasambika.

            Though it is still early in our trip,it is going to be strange when we return to the States and don’t hear a chorus of “Muzungu” following us everywhere we go. Right now, though, none of us want to think about leaving this amazing place. Although we were all a long way from home, we already appeared to be at home in this unique village.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Bukakaire - Settling Into our New Home

After a long orientation, we finally arrived at our new home for the summer! We quickly began to make it our own by hanging up mosquito nets, sweeping, and arranging our huge sack of groceries that we bought from the market earlier in the day. We enjoyed a hearty meal cooked by Betty, our new cook! It was only our first night here, but already it felt like home. However, a few short hours later, the bed bugs came… Anna and Johnny, upon discovering the bed bugs, quickly scurried out of their rooms and set up camp in the living room floor. Sleepover time! Johnny snored. LOUD.

The next morning, we met our VHTs (Village Health Team members). They are all very friendly and welcoming. Unfortunately, we had to we spend the weekend at UVP headquarters in Iganga town to escape the bedbugs. We returned Sunday evening, refreshed and ready to begin our work anew.

Every single morning we wake up to a very loud (and determined) rooster, plus Said singing “One yellow duck, swimming in the water…” and “I said a broom, sweep-ah broom…” as he sweeps the living room.

During the week, we had an introductory meeting with the community, along with various community leaders. We met with the head of the two local primary schools and the community chairman. While meeting with the schools, we made arrangements to hold WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) sensitizations at the schools. In addition, one of our VHTs took us on an orientation walk throughout the entire village. It ended up taking a few hours because we also personally introduced ourselves to every household (all 120 of them). During the introductory meeting with the community, we asked village members about the strengths and weaknesses of their community in order to gain a firsthand perspective of what work needs to be done in their opinion. Everyone is very welcoming and excited to be a part of our work this summer. We embarrassed ourselves numerous times while trying to practice our Lusoga greetings that we had just learned. Many people enjoyed laughing at us, but in a nice way (we hope). Although, it seems that by the end of the week, we have finally mastered those three phrases.

Outside of UVP work, we also started to tackle chores that include smoking the latrine, which Joseph managed to set on fire at one point in time, fetching water from the well, which often requires the help of village children 1/10th the size of us who carry jerry cans twice the size of themselves, and Said shimmying up tall trees with a machete to harvest papayas and wood.

Sometimes we also had dance parties with the children, including a little boy who enjoys riding his bike without pants. Also, the village is filled with copious amounts of pregnant goats, which we are all very excited about.  The baby goats are adorable.

After long, hot days of work, we cool off by taking bucket baths under the shade of banana trees and blue skies, watching the sunset, stargazing, having group sing-a-longs, surviving huge rain storms, and playing Bananagrams and card games in the light of kerosene lanterns.

All in all, it was a crazy, busy and productive week and we cannot wait to see what lies ahead for us in Bukakaire.

Jambo from Uganda!

Diane, Brittani, Said, Joseph, Anna, Johnny

Friday, July 10, 2015

Introducing the 2015 Summer Interns!

We are very excited to introduce this summer's cohort of interns. They'll be working on launching new Healthy Villages, conducting monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in one of our current Healthy Villages, and implementing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs in two more villages.

Stay tuned throughout the summer for updates from the field from these fantastic champions for public health!

Launch Team - Bukakaire

Anna Gunod (team leader) is an MPH student at Tulane University, concentrating in Community Health Sciences.  She also received her Bachelor’s degree from Tulane, with a double major in Public Health and Spanish.  Anna spent a semester in Chile, Peru, and Argentina, where she studied and participated in hands-on public health work, and she has previously held public health internships with Fit NOLA of the New Orleans Health Department and Common Ground Health Clinic in New Orleans.  In her free time, she enjoys singing and working with children.  She is inspired by this opportunity to work with UVP and provide much needed support and collaboration to improve public health in the Bukakaire village.  She is most excited to learn about the Ugandan culture and language so that her team can create culturally competent public health interventions and collaborate effectively with village members.

Joseph Senkumba (team leader)

Diane Qi is a biology major, sociology minor at Dartmouth College. Outside of classes, Diane is a research intern at the Norris Cotton Cancer Research Center and leads a student cooking group at the local homeless shelter. Diane has previously worked in mobile clinics in Peru as president of Medlife and in a social work center and low income clinic with St. Anthony’s foundation. After graduation, Diane hopes to continue working with underresourced communities and to further explore the field of public health. Eventually she hopes to enter medical school. This summer Diane is most excited about the opportunity to learn how to collaborate with culturally disparate communities in building sustainable public health solutions.  

Juma Tusuubila is pursuing a Bachelor of Environmental Health Science at Makerere University’s School of Public Health. He aspires to be an environmental health specialist, focusing on health policy to achieve health for all He is also committed to rural microfinance NGO’s as a way to bring economic development and build resilience of developing countries. He enjoys doing drama, dancing, MC’ing, and swimming.

Johnny Su is from Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2015 with a B.A. in biology, and he is currently taking a gap year before applying to medical school next year. Johnny has traveled to Europe, South America, and Asia, but this is his first time in Africa. He eventually sees himself working in international health after completing his medical degree, and hopes that this summer internship will further encourage him to pursue a career down this path. He is a member of the Launch Team at Bukakaire.

Brittani Calvert is a senior at the University of  Washington who is majoring in Public Health and minoring in Nutrition. Outside of her studies, she is involved in her school's Student Food Cooperative club and was recently one of their leaders. She is passionate about public health issues surrounding food insecurity, malnutrition, global malnutrition, hunger, and injustice. She plans on pursuing a career that works to eliminate these issues. Brittani is excited to be a member of the Launch Team and experience Ugandan culture. Above all, she is honored to have this amazing opportunity to live in a rural village in Iganga and work with the villagers to create community specific, sustainable solutions in order to improve public health.

Launch Team - Nabirere B

Caila Brander (team leader) grew up in Bloomington, Illinois. She is senior at Washington University in St. Louis studying Biology and Anthropology, focusing on Global Health and the Environment. There, she is a member of the executive board for a public health student group and coordinates safe sex education sessions around campus. After graduating, she hopes to have more international experiences before eventually applying to medical school. She has enjoyed several volunteer positions in Guatemala, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and her home community. She also spent time conducting public health research in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She is incredibly excited for this summer in Uganda and looks forward to the opportunity to gain experience in public health program implementation and to learn first hand about community health.

Kenneth Kaggwa (team leader) is studying social work and social administration at Kampala University. In five years he aims to be a lead project or program designer. He enjoys traveling, story-telling, and DJ-ing in his free time. He is passionate about exploring new skills and ideas in line with societal uplift and development.

Nicole Carbonis currently a second-year Master of Public Health student in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Maternal and Child Health Department. She is most interested in international reproductive health, family planning, and nutrition. Outside of the classroom, Nicole is actively involved in the UNC Student Global Health Committee and the Carolina BEBES Group that focuses on breastfeeding and birth awareness and advocacy. This summer Nicole is excited about further developing skills she gained in her first year of graduate school and about working with the community to do health assessments and interventions. 

Ivan Mutawulira (no information provided)

Lorna Genoud is from Sydney, Australia. She completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney in health and human movement education. She also attained a master's degree from the University of Sydney in International Public Health. She has previously volunteered in Peru, Cambodia and Zambia, teaching and working on health issues. She is an avid sports fan and player; She played soccer for 16 years and has coached and played at semi professional levels. She speaks a few languages, French, Spanish and a little Portuguese and also loves music (used to be a piano teacher). 

Sarah Branoff is from Huntington Beach, California and recently finished her undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley. She graduated with a major in Public Health and a minor in English, and is considering pursuing both medicine and global public health in her future. Sarah is extremely excited to work with the other members of her team this summer to empower the members of the Nabirere B community to improve the health practices of themselves and their families. She wants to apply the public health theories she has learned about at UC Berkeley to rural communities in need of health education. After the internship, Sarah plans to take time to backpack around Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia, and hopefully get involved with more global health non-profits. 

Launch Team - Kitukiro

Susan Vertucci (team leader) is from Lawrenceville, Georgia, located northeast of Atlanta. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Georgia in 2008. Susan is currently living in New Orleans, and is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Health with a concentration in International Health and Development from Tulane University. She has enjoyed traveling throughout Eastern Africa, and spent one year volunteering at an English Medium Primary School in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. She is excited for the amazing opportunity to intern with Uganda Village Project this summer.

Annette Mary Luyga (team leader) (no information provided)

Allison Gengler is from St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a senior at the University of St. Thomas studying Family Social Science and Non-Profit Management. She has enjoyed seeing the beauty of the world
through volunteer positions in South America, South-East Asia, and the Caribbean Islands. She looks forward to further work in international development after graduation. Allison believes the key to life is a positive attitude and adventurous spirit. She is excited to see all that this internship with Uganda Village Project will teach her this summer!
Kenneth Kirunda is a second year student pursuing his Bachelor’s of Environmental Health Science at Makarere University’s School of Public Health. He comes from a humble background and was raised in Iganga district. In the future, he hopes to become a district health inspector working to improve the status of sanitation in the country.

Rebecca Gale 

Launch Team - Nabirere A

Tali Brenner (team leader) is from Potomac, Maryland. She recently graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelors in Public Health. During her time, she volunteered with NO/AIDS Task Force, which sparked an interest in her to work in the field of infectious diseases. This fall she will continue at Tulane to pursue her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology.  She can’t wait to experience everything Uganda has to offer this summer as a co-leader for the Launch Team in Nabirere A. Overall, she hopes to get out of her comfort zone and listen and learn from the people around her!

Maggie Ashaba (team leader) (no information provided)

Simone Fukuda majored in Political Science at Wellesley College, but decided later to pursue public health. She assisted the UK delegation during the WHO's Executive Board in 2013 and has recently finished an internship with Emergency Health team at the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, where she worked on the response to the West Africa Ebola outbreak and learned about emergency health operations.She is excited to learn about a new model of community health and learn about health within the Ugandan context and is very interested in trying the local cuisine, (trying) to learn a new language and meeting new people! In the near future she hopes to complete a Masters of Public Health

Stine Vest Nielson just graduated from University of Copenhagen in Denmark with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health and will this fall study the Master of Science in Global Health program. Most recently, she has been visiting a local NGO in Ghana to initiate a partnership project on sexual and reproductive health and rights. One of the things she is most excited about working in Uganda this summer is that the close collaboration with locals will give her in depth knowledge on  the health issues and everyday life and thus give her new perspectives for future work within global health.

M&E Team - Buwoira

Ali Goldsmith (team leader) is from Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2014, with a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Education. She is a certified Community Health Education Specialist, and was and AmeriCorps member with the American Red Cross. Ali has traveled to Europe, Australia, Central America, and a few African countries. She spent four months in Madagascar doing humanitarian work, which inspired her to study Public Health. Ali hopes to get a Masters in Public Health, and looks forward to spending her summer as a co-team leader on the Monitoring and Evaluation Team. 

Fiona Atim (team leader) is in her second year at International Health Sciences University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Health care management. She has always had a passion for making a difference in the health care system of Uganda especially in the rural setting. There is a great need for health education, sensitization and counseling of people especially in rural areas. She would love to get better solutions to these challenges and she believes that with the help of Uganda Village Project, she will be able to acquire more skills, knowledge and understanding that will greatly contribute to her career.

Ainslee Neu is a junior at the University of Minnesota studying microbiology, public health, and statistics. She has worked in public health at the state level but is excited for the chance to work in a Ugandan community. At school she is involved in a couple of public health clubs. In her free time she likes to run and completed her first marathon last fall. She is most excited to learn more about improving public health in a rural village as well as getting to know the members of the village!

Mia Monkovic is a rising senior at Johns Hopkins University majoring in International Studies and Sociology. She is passionate about International Development and is excited to learn more about the application of public health, community engagement, and Ugandan culture. She can't wait to work with and learn from other UVP interns and community members, and is excited for the challenge and adventure this summer will bring.

Deanna Fleary is a Junior at American University in DC. She is working towards a BS in public health with a minor in history. Her studies center around infectious diseases and global health. Outside of class she is involved in her school's Student Historical Society and is excited to begin a Resident Assistant position in the Fall. This summer Deanna is looking forward to learning more about different African cultures, and expanding her learning outside of the classroom.

Ruth Mirembe (no information provided)

WASH Team - Kasambika
Gladys Arias (team leader) is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Administration, specializing in health policy and management, at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. A former public health professional, she has served predominately disadvantaged Hispanic communities with high rates of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. Most recently, she worked with Physicians for Human Rights and assisted with public health initiatives at the United Nations Population Fund. She received her BS in Psychology and BA in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. Having traveled to five continents since college, she is most excited about falling in love with a new country – while creating healthy communities, one village at a time.

Deborah Akong (team leaderis currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Environmental Health Sciences at Makarere University’s School of public health. She would like to pursue a career in public health, dealing with disease control to zero the incidence of communicable diseases. In her spare time, she enjoys music, playing board games, and doing Sudoku puzzles.

Sarah Dugan is a rising fourth year at the University of Virginia majoring in biology and global development. She is a research assistant in a biology lab, where she investigates how dorsal root ganglion activity impacts satellite glial cell development. She also is part of an interdisciplinary research team studying the necessary social and technical infrastructures to sustain a secondary water system in a rural Nicaraguan community. Prior to UVP, Sarah worked as a public health intern for an NGO in the Ecuadorian Amazon. While at school, she works on various health outreach projects in the Charlottesville community and enjoys the outdoors in her spare time. Sarah is incredibly excited for the summer and is looking forward to learning more about health problems and health promotion in rural Uganda.

Leonard Opeto is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health Science at the Makarere University School of Public Health. He is very passionate about environmental health. In the next few three years he sees himself practicing environmental health in vulnerable communities. Afterwards, he hopes to pursue a degree in public health management and enter global health management with an international organization.

Thomas Karrel is an incoming senior at Tulane University double majoring in Public Health and International Development. He will also be attending the Tulane’s graduate school of Public Health and Tropical Medicine after this upcoming year, studying Epidemiology or Global Health Systems. He is involved in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at Tulane, and spent the last year serving on the Executive Board. He is also an International Student Mentor and works in the Tropical Medicine labs in Tulane’s downtown campus. With the UVP internship coming up, he is most excited to meet different communities and see the water conditions in Iganga firsthand. Also, he's excited to be living in completely different conditions and be able to “unplug” for a couple months. 

Richeal Walsh is about to begin her senior year at Brown University with a major in Public Health, more specifically environmental and maternal health. At Brown, she is the captain of the women's lacrosse team and a member of the Rhode Island Environmental Justice League. This summer, she is most excited about experiencing Ugandan culture and learning everything she can about the people and the health challenges they face.

WASH Team - Bukaigo

Lucy O'Shaugnessy (team leader) 

Elizabeth Muhumuza (team leader) is a third year student pursuing a Bachelor's of Environmental Health Science at Makarere University's School of Public Health.  During her stay at the Makerere University, she has acquired a lot of knowledge concerning disease prevention and also improved my leadership and public speaking skills. In the next two years, she sees herself as a practicing environmental health scientist and a health promoter in different communities. She also looks forward to doing a master’s degree in public health after the two years of practice, specializing in epidemiology and biostatistics.

Sofia Moscowitz (no information provided)

Katie O'Donnell is a MPH Epidemiology & Biostatistics candidate at Claremont Graduate University-School of Community and Global Health where she is currently involved in health behavior research in connection with HIV in at risk communities.  She is interested in emerging infectious disease on both the national and global scale.  She received her BA in Exercise Science/Kinesiology from Capital University in 2011 and is ACSM certified as a Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist.  Katie enjoys traveling, the great outdoors, and making friends wherever she goes.  This summer she will be part of the WASH team and is most excited to experience Ugandan culture, to work with an international team, and to experience the challenges of working globally in a low-resource area.  

Daphine Wadamaga (no information provided)

Shahana Momin is currently a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, completing a bachelors in Supply Chain management with a minor in Chemistry. She is the Vice President of my school's Business Healthcare Association, where she works with other students to learn about how the business side of health care can have a major impact on the quality and delivery of health care. She also volunteers at a refugee shelter in Austin, TX, where she helps teach international women refugees about sexual health. She is excited to immerse myself in rural Africa this summer and is also excited to use her knowledge of logistics and health care to help better the health of the local communities with her fellow WASH team members!