BENEFITING: Nourish International
ORGANIZER: Nourish International
Chapters: Penn State University, Juniata College, and Duke University
Partner Organization: Community Concerns Uganda (CCUg)
This year, the Penn State, Duke, and Juniata Chapters are returning to the Jinja District of Uganda for a second year of partnership with Community Concerns Uganda (CCUg). We are investing in the construction of dish drying racks in order to promote safe health practices in village households as well as reduce unsanitary conditions that contribute to illnesses including diarrhea and cholera.
In Uganda, many households lack tables and furniture to use for cooking and a place to wash and dry their dishes. In a survey conducted by our partner organization, Community Concerns Uganda, they found that over 95% of households did not have a clean and durable place to dry their dishes and utensils. As a result, most dishes are placed on the ground -- often a dirt floor -- to dry. This poses a sanitation and hygiene issue, as dishes are accessible to animals kept at the family home, which contributes to the spread of germs. Building these racks will provide a sanitary area off the ground for dishes to dry, which will significantly reduce the potential for contamination of the dishes before they are used to serve food. In the areas we will be working in this summer -- Nakalanga Village and Jinja District -- there is a need for dish drying racks to overcome these health risks.
Project interns will construct 6-8 drying racks while in Uganda. These racks consist of long pieces of wood, nails, and chicken wire mesh. Based off of other workers constructing these racks last year, we estimate that it will take approximately 1-2 days for a team of five interns to construct each rack. During their time in Uganda, the students from Penn State, Duke, and Juniata will also conduct a workshop with the families receiving drying racks to discuss the purpose and benefits of the installation of the drying racks. The families receiving these racks have been surveyed by staff of Community Concerns Uganda and have been deemed as the families with the highest need for a drying rack.
Community Concerns Uganda (CCUg) is a community-based organization that works to reduce poverty and improve general welfare by empowering women and children through income-generating activities (IGAs) and educational workshops. CCUg focuses on empowering the community through education on reproductive health, disease, and sanitation in addition to supporting women and adolescents who are victims of domestic violence. The vision of this organization is to see a “self-sustaining community with healthy, educated members and safe, clean households” through executing its mission of “improv[ing] the social, economic, psychological and spiritual welfare of the community.” Founded on the pillars of love, hope and desire for change, CCUg works to address the needs and aspirations of the underprivileged using a holistic approach directed specifically towards poverty reduction.
Last Year’s Project:
Last year, our Nourish chapters fundraised over $4000, which was directly invested in projects that supported a large community of over 4,000 residents in Nakalanga Village, Uganda. The primary project was the construction of two pit latrines, which were in great need in the village. Before its construction, villagers had no proper way to dispose of bodily wastes, and would relieve themselves in Lake Victoria – which also served as the village’s primary source of drinking water. As a result, it was common to see residents sick with preventable diseases such as cholera and typhoid that are caused or exacerbated by waterborne illnesses stemming from consuming contaminated water. Additionally, mosquitoes are attracted to these unsanitary environments, creating an increased risk for being infected with malaria. A second project that our chapters were able to fund was a chicken coop intiative. Our funding was used to purchase 300 chickens that would be donated to individual business women who reared the chickens and sold their eggs to their community for profit.
There were 5 Penn State and 2 Duke University student interns that went to Jinja District, Uganda to participate in these and other projects for 6 weeks under the guidance of CCUg. These students helped participate in primary and secondary school education, where they taught children from ages 5-20 about sanitation and hygiene, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual health, and the importance of education. Furthermore, student interns participated in a Women’s Group Savings Program (GSP), where they presented business lessons on product/service differentiation and marketing strategies. With GSP, the student interns also had the chance to teach women basic business skills, such as utilizing transaction records to understand how to make a profit and how to maintain a business. These skills are vital in ensuring long-term success of each woman’s business. The Group Savings Program also encourages women to save their money for future use and investment – something that hadn’t been utilized in the past.