GlobeMed at Northeastern partners with grass-roots based Kitovu Mobile AIDS Organisation to find water sanitation solutions.

GlobeMed at Northeastern has come a very long way since I first joined as a freshman. Initially a small, disorganized student group, GlobeMed at Northeastern has grown to a chapter of about 30 members, each with a passion for global health and the drive to do something about it!

Yes, we are just college kids, but GlobeMed is designed to combine the best of our knowledge with that of our partner's for ultimate success. Most student global health groups are based on ideas of "voluntourism," where involvement is more about getting to travel than actually contributing to a sustainable cause. Another common aspect of global health groups is the idea of "duffle bag medicine," where unqualified volunteers are given drugs to distribute to those who might need them. The consequences of playing doctor for a week or so? See for yourself: http://www.northeastern.edu/ashcoop/students/resources_current/out_state_and_or/coops_healthcare/documents/Duffle_Bag_Medicine.pdf

GlobeMed isn't about a brief, inaffective volunteer trip to another country. We're about partnership. We have an ongoing relationship with Kitovu (pronounced chi-toe-voo) Mobile AIDS Organisation (about 5 years and counting!) in which we listen to them and they listen to us. Our completely collaborative model avoids the prospect of imposing an agenda on a community which we will never completely be a part of. Regardless, we do have a place in theirs as benefactors and friends, just as they have a place in ours, through the representation of our chapter (feel free to ask me about our awareness campaigns, global health panels, and fundraising events). So, when we asked Kitovu Mobile AIDS Organisation what they needed most, what did they say?

"Without proper sanitation, there is no progress."

780 million people in the world don’t have access to clean water…that’s more than two and a half times the population of the United States. As a result, 3.4 million people die each year from a water-related illness. In Uganda, safe water supplies are available to 67% of the population and access to improved sanitation is 48%. These may seem like less than dire statistics, but it gets worse: The price of clean water can be three times that of dirty water, so most people opt to collect from dirty reservoirs. As far as toilets go, more than half of all residents in Uganda do not have access to improved sanitation; people often share overcrowded pit latrines and practice open defecation ( all of the above from www.water.org).

In Masaka, a rural district about 125 km away from the capital, access to clean water and sanitation is at its minimum. GlobeMed at Northeastern fundraises for Kitovu Mobile’s water sanitation effort, which will install more pit latrines, water tanks, tippy taps (a sort of home-made water faucet), and educate the community about hygiene through self-help groups. So far there are 70 self-help groups, and the number is growing! Still, more needs to be done! Last year we raised over $5000 for this project, which helped build 4 pit latrines, 4 water tanks, and aided the continuation of the self-help group program. But how do we know this is really where our money is going? Good Question.

Every year, GlobeMed at Northeastern sends a group of its members to Uganda where we work first-hand with Kitovu for about a month. Our group of students this summer saw great improvements in our efforts, but more needs to be done! This year we hope to raise $7000 to further our already successful efforts. But we need you! Will you help us?

Three students and myself will be travelling to Masaka on our annual trip in July, so you can be certain that your contribution is going to the right people. This year is an especially vital time for GlobeMed at Northeastern because, while we are in Uganda, there will be a GlobeMed conference which gathers our Northeastern team, the directors of Kitovu, and all other East African-based GlobeMed chapters and partners. This is a HUGE opportunity for the improvement, revision, and strengthening of our goals and partnerships.

Northeastern students are leading a movement in global health equity, and your commitment would help push it forward. We at GlobeMed are fortunate enough to be taking a stand in the escalating water crisis that cripples so many communities across the globe, and we are honored to present this opportunity for you to join us.

Our meetings are every Tuesday at 7:45 in 340 Curry Student Center. Stop by!

Thanks for your time,

Allie

www.globemed.org/northeastern

www.kitovumobile.org

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    GlobeMed partners university students with grassroots organizations around the world to improve the health of people living in poverty.
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