Zoe, Khalid and Arielle, GESI Students from Northwestern University decided to apply to this program because they hoped to make a difference in the lives of people. They wanted to learn more about other cultures and how they can make a difference in their lives. The project they implemented was Improving Water Sanitation with emphasis on hand washing among Grandmother households. In this project, the students worked with St. Francis Health Services in Jinja to help promote COVID-19 awareness and sanitation practices. The challenge the community faced was reliable knowledge on COVID-19 and availability of soap. In order to address these challenges, the students and St. Francis employees collaborated to create community dialogues where topics such as importance of water sanitation, hygiene, and COVID-19 prevention were discussed.
Arielle, Zoe and Khalid along side their host organization supervisor Maurine Nantono presented information in a clear and culturally appropriate manner. They made sure to include photos and graphics for clarity. Additionally, a liquid soap-making training was conducted where the community learned how to make their own liquid soap with readily available and affordable materials. Through these dialogues and training sessions, the community was educated on the importance of COVID-19 prevention and sanitation, while also being able to produce their own soap, which they could use at home or sell to generate income.
The goal is that Jajas in the community will continue to make soap and teach one another to keep the project sustainable. During evaluation, the students learned that the Jajas retained the information very well and were excited to continue the process of making their own soap, as well as sharing their newly acquired skills with family and friends. Over time, the Jajas in the community might want to expand their product portfolio to bar soap or shampoos. They might also want to purchase larger equipment to make larger batches, which might need additional support.
Partner Organization: St Francis Health Care Services