Students visit Uganda to support local communities
A TRIO of Geography students from Northumbria University, Newcastle, experienced the trip of a lifetime to help communities in Uganda.
Supporting UK charity, Water for Kids, three students from the University’s BSc Environmental Health course visited more than 20 villages in the Iganga region of Uganda to help combat the spread of infectious disease, and improve the health and wellbeing of the community.
The three girls, Ashleigh Jobes (23), Alexandra Wilson (22) and Eimear Harrigan (22), spent more than two weeks helping to dig wells, protect water sources and build latrines, while utilising their skills and knowledge from the course to help create sustainable communities by providing education about hygiene and infectious disease control.
Alexandra said: “The trip was a fantastic experience, not only for the chance to put my degree into practice, but for the interpersonal skills I developed from it.
“The knowledge that I gained from my degree helped with the technical side of the trip; we tested water sources for contamination, to ensure they were safe for consumption and made recommendations for what could be done to improve them.
“We also put together a proposal for the communities, including prices, priorities and where to travel to ensure the water sources are kept safe and sustainable.
“This experience made me appreciate the water network in the UK, something that so many of us take for granted.
Alexandra continued: “My personal experience with the locals was what made my trip so worthwhile. We laughed and danced every day, everyone was so friendly and genuine. It really added to the experience knowing that we were making a small difference to their everyday living.
“I hope the trip wasn’t just a once in a lifetime experience, but somewhere I can visit again and again.”
Simon Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Health with Northumbria’s Geography Department, said: “Students completing Environmental Health courses at Northumbria fulfil the academic requirements for being accredited as an Environmental Health Practitioner by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, but it is the practical experience and opportunities provided by Northumbria that sets our candidates apart from others when it comes to career building. They are showing the type of exciting work Environmental Health Practitioners can do.
“This unique venture allowed the girls to further their studies in an exceptional environment, where they could really put what they have learned into context to help other people.”
Students were supported through a grant from the Rotary Club of Newcastle West. Rotary President David Gregory, said: “The Rotary Club is delighted to support the students with this effort to promote public health in Uganda through supporting young professionals and students gain an understanding of other communities.
“We are hoping to repeat this next year following a successful fundraising event in April where we raised more than £2,000.”
The event was held in the Great Hall at Northumbria University. Barclays Bank also donated £1,000 to help fund future trips and the Geography Department paid for the bespoke Indian meal – a creation by the University’s Executive Chef Sean Wilkinson.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Northumbria University .