GIVE Kenya

Global Initiative for Village Empowerment (GIVE), founded in 2005, is an independent organization made up of students recruited from the University of British Columbia. Currently, we work out of Kanyawegi, a rural location in western Kenya near Lake Victoria and the city of Kisumu.

GIVE Mission statement: To promote positive change and support sustainable, grassroots projects in vulnerable communities affected by HIV/AIDS though education, research and partnerships with stakeholders.

The original mandate of GIVE was to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kanyawegi through education. While working in the community, GIVE members came to realize that improving awareness of the current epidemic is only one of many determinants influencing the continual spread of HIV. In order to address these newly identified issues, GIVE expanded into four collaborating teams of UBC students from different faculties:

1)       HIV/AIDS Education

2)       Food Security & Nutrition

3)       Financial Development

4)       Health

GIVE Kenya 2012 team

The Health division is GIVE’s newest team, established in 2008 by UBC medical students. Its primary goal is to improve the quality and efficiency of the healthcare system in Kanyawegi by conducting needs assessments and working with local health authorities, healthcare workers, NGOs and CBOs (Community Based Organizations). In the past, our team has been involved with the delivery of healthcare at the Ober Kamoth Health Center, helping with the centre’s infrastructure, developing it’s HIV anti-retroviral dispensary, and improving drug shortage at the centre.

In 2010, the Health Team helped to implement Community Strategy, a government initiative meant to help bridge the gap between the community and the healthcare system. The GIVE 2010 Team worked with the local government and a CBO to successfully train 54 Community Health Workers (CHWs) on health topics including HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and sanitation.

Since then, the GIVE Health teams have worked side-by-side with members of the community to help develop the Community Strategy program in Kanyawegi. Among other things, this has involved arranging training sessions on pertinent health topics for the CHWs, organizing events such as community Health Dialogue Days, and addressing any organizational issues that arise.  In addition to these, the 2013 Health team spent this past summer pursuing opportunities for the Community Strategy unit to attain their own sustainable sources of funding from grants and income-generating activities (IGAs).

We are excited to see what 2014 and onwards will bring for the GIVE Health team. As the Community Strategy unit advances towards financial and organizational independence, we will attempt to foster the skills and initiatives that will allow them to thrive without external assistance.
Finally, as always, we will continue to advocate for the needs of the healthcare workers and community members, working with the Financial, Education and Nutrition teams to this end.

For further information on the Health Team and the other GIVE Teams, check out GIVE’s website at www.givesociety.org.

CHW shadowing, GIVE Kenya Team

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