Our Goals – 

The goal of our trip is to strengthen the partnership between GlobeMed at Middlebury College and the Africa 2000 Network – Uganda (A2N).  GlobeMed at Middlebury is a new organization on campus founded this past fall.  All year, we have been working to organize fundraising and awareness events to benefit our partner organization. The mission of GlobeMed is:

“To strengthen the movement for global health equity by empowering students and communities to work together to improve the health of the impoverished around the world.”

The emphasis on partnership and long-term, sustainable commitment is at the heart of the organization.  The mission statement of A2N is:

“To alleviate poverty by supporting smallholder farmer groups consisting of rural men and women to undertake initiatives geared towards livelihood improvement and natural resources regeneration and 
conservation.”

Through the use of sustainable agricultural practices and technologies, active participation and cooperation between men and women, the building of local institutions for collective action in the areas of marketing, resource mobilization and advocacy, and a strengthening of entrepreneurial skills for sustainable income generation by empowering local farmers to teach in farming communities, the farming families have a chance of significantly improving their livelihoods.

During our three-week stay in Tororo, we will begin building a strong relationship with the local people of the area, specifically those participating with and working for the A2N office. We will be briefed on the various initiatives at the center, which include extensive agricultural education, seminars on marketing and business, and advocacy within the community. A2N is currently in the process of installing computers at six village technology resource centers around Tororo. We will lend assistance at the various centers, help to install and network computers and educate local farmers on how to properly utilize these tools. In addition to volunteering at the technology centers and assisting in actual fieldwork, we will be working with one of A2N’s partner programs, the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS initiative.

There are three major goals we will strive to achieve on this trip. First, to assist farmers and resource centers in bridging the information gap by doing the outreach work outlined above. Secondly, we hope to gain experience about grassroots global health movements by working with clinics, farmers and technology.  The lack of a specific global health major or program at Middlebury inhibits our ability to learn about the implementation of such projects.  Due to the fact that all six participants are interested in the health and development sectors, the academic experience of the trip will be extremely beneficial for all six students. This trip will also occur at a unique time in the development in the Middlebury curriculum, as more courses and programs are focusing on issues of poverty and global health and development. This can be seen through the pending interdisciplinary poverty/global health minor program and the hire of a new medical anthropologist with a background in public health and the intentions of creating a connection between Sociology/Anthropology and the Pre-Med program. Finally, the experience of doing intensive fieldwork and study will give us an invaluable experience working with an NGO in a developing African country. Learning to be responsible donors and volunteers is extremely important to us. It is crucial that we all be critical of humanitarian aid work in order to ensure the effectiveness of programs. We all feel very privileged to attend Middlebury, and know that our experiences here will shape our donations of time and money to other organizations in the future. Learning about what makes some organizations better than others is important to us, and is not something that can be easily taught in a classroom.

Middlebury provides us with extraordinary opportunities to explore the world around us and provides us with the resources and support to go out and become who we want to be and make a difference in the world. We are so fortunate to have these opportunities, and our hope is to use this trip to impact the world in a way that would embody Middlebury’s ideals of service and community. This trip will provide us with the resources and flexibility to further explore the integration of multiple fields of study and prepare us for careers in the field of international health.

The Role of Agriculture in Promoting Health in Uganda –

Over the past semester, with the prospect of traveling to Uganda over the summer, some of the GlobeMed students have used research papers and other class projects to learn more about the role that agriculture plays in Uganda. What was found was that in recent years, Uganda has demonstrated significant dedication to the promotion of agriculture. The government and its partner organizations have recognized the potential for poverty reduction through strengthening the agricultural sector. It has become clear that there is an obvious correlation between agriculture and human development, and in a country where about 75 percent of the population is involved in agriculture, this relationship must continue to prosper. The United Nations Development Programme released an important report in 2007 entitled: “Uganda Human Development Report 2007: Rediscovering Agriculture for Human Development.” This detailed report includes some of the initiatives taken by both the Ugandan government and local people. It has become clear that, in Uganda especially, promoting agriculture has a direct positive effect on poverty, which in turn contributes directly to health.