PartnerUganda to be spotlighted at Pay It Forward Drake women’s basketball game November 24

In the Des Moines area? Join us on Sunday, November 24th to cheer on the Drake Bulldogs. Students who have traveled to Uganda the past few years will be recognized on court during halftime. We are honored to have been chosen as the spotlight program for the inaugural Pay It Forward game.  You will be able to recognize us (we’ll be wearing huge smiles and smiley face buttons) — and rumor has it, you’ll leave with a smile, too.  Feel free to stop by the table at the entrance to the Knapp Center before/during/after the game to chat with us about the Kikandwa health clinic project.
From Drake Athletics:
“The first annual Pay It Forward women’s basketball game will be held at 2:00 pm on Sunday, November 24 when the Drake Women under head coach Jennie Barancyzk take on in-state rival, Iowa State. This game will help us tell our story, a story that describes how all members of the Drake community – faculty, staff, coaches, students, and athletes – work together to be global citizens with well-rounded, intercultural experiences. Our story includes members from the Drake community that are highly involved in teaching beyond the classroom or playing field, reaching further to take the opportunity to impact Drake, this community, and the world. This year’s specific example will highlight the trip to Uganda that Drake faculty and students, including one women’s basketball student-athlete (Cara Lutes), participated in last May, as well as ongoing efforts to make an impact in our community and abroad. As individuals and a university, we are committed to meeting needs in Des Moines and beyond. We pay it forward, and we want to encourage others to do the same.”

Great news!

The first phase of construction for the medical clinic in Kikandwa village, Uganda, is nearing completion. When we last corresponded in April, we were involved in fundraising for the Phase 1 construction costs. Thanks to your generosity, we met our initial fundraising goal, and construction on the clinic began in earnest in early June. We are eternally grateful for your financial support and encouragement—without you, this project would still be a dream…now it’s becoming a reality. As the finishing touches are put on the clinic’s physical structure, we are writing to let you know the next steps.

In May/June 2013, the Drake faculty and a “new” group of Drake students spent two days in the Kikandwa village. While there, the community held an official groundbreaking ceremony for the clinic, with representatives from our many in-country partners — including Kampala South Rotary — in attendance.  It was a wonderful celebration capped off by a delicious lunch, health education programming and plenty of time for laughing and playing with the children.  Several children from the village “broke ground” for their health clinic and they especially enjoyed watching the visitors from far away swing pick-axes in an effort to remove a tree that once stood where an outside wall of the clinic would soon go.

Also this summer, with funding support from the Slay Fund for Social Justice, Drake student Drew Harkins stayed with a village elder, James Galabuzi (who happens to be Dr. Senteza’s father) in Kikandwa for two weeks and gathered more information on healthcare needs and mapped available resources. Construction on the clinic began picking up steam, and in late August, we received a message that members of the community are overwhelmed with joy about what is happening in Kikandwa. Mr. Galabuzi told us that many in the village asked him to pass on their tremendous thanks and appreciation to “these people from a different land who have selflessly come to make a difference in our community” (loosely translated). Mr. Galabuzi said that many of them did not believe that the different contingents of ‘us’ that had been there the last few years, and had talked to them about the health care effort, meant serious business.  And so now when they see a building complete with a roof, they have started believing that it is actually happening. Like us, the people of the Kikandwa village have tremendous appreciation for everyone that is involved in this effort… this includes you.

 Over the past few months, construction has progressed rapidly.  Members of the Kampala South Rotary Club have been overseeing the construction and providing us with many updates. The clinic is nearing completion with a physical structure standing in Uganda right now.

PartnerUganda is working with the Mukono Diocese in Uganda to determine how to properly staff and run a sustainable health clinic.  The Mukono Diocese currently operates numerous clinics throughout Uganda, so we believe their experience makes them the best partners in developing staffing and service delivery options. A Memorandum of Understanding is being developed with the community’s input, and, once completed, will help establish each party’s responsibilities moving forward. Extensive research and input from the community suggests the primary foci of the clinic will be prenatal care, preventative care, and health education, as these are the biggest needs in the area. PartnerUganda anticipates things to move quickly in the coming months but in order to do so we must have financial resources available.  We are now fundraising to provide the necessary equipment needed to stock the clinic and make it operational.

We thank you for your continued support as PartnerUganda works to achieve the opening of this clinic in Kikandwa. As you make decisions about your 2013 year-end giving, we ask you to consider renewing your commitment to the Kikandwa health clinic. Every donation gets us one step closer to our goal. All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of all donations received will go directly to this project. Check or money-order contributions can be sent to Shining City Foundation, PO Box 42124, Urbandale, IA 50323. Please write “Uganda Health Clinic” on the memo line of your check.

Weebale nnyo! Thank you!