The student groups at Mbarara University of Science and
Technology (MUST) who won prizes for their rural field projects in 2012 have
all collected their prize money and submitted their reports. The prizes which have inspired this blossoming of student creativity have come from the Hillman Medical Education Fund, which established 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes of $900, $650 and $450 respectively. All 30 groups competed for the prizes and the competition was fierce.
|Old Pit Latrine|
When the rural placements began at MUST, the students did
surveys. That is, they asked the same questions and collected virtually the
same data each year. It was the same in
medical schools around the world. On the
good side, our students were learning how to collect and record data. On the bad side, nothing was being done about
problems we already knew a lot about.
|Kisoro Group Meets Community|
About the same time, the World Health Organization came up
with a directive to field workers of all stripes, No Survey Without Service. At
MUST, the head of the Community Health Dept at the time decided to discontinue
the surveys so the students could spend more time getting to know the
community. We would ask them to find
things to do in the community such as health education at the local schools,
document how schools for disabled were managing with scarce resources, talk to
the community groups looking after AIDS orphans and respond to local cholera
outbreaks. More formalized community
projects began a couple of years ago with the Leadership Training Program. As there are more trained community-based
health workers in communities, the students were directed to work with them to
come up with their community project.
|New Pit Latrine Being Constructed|
Students, often city- dwellers, arrive in their placements
struck by how horrid, brutish and mean rural life is. But they return from their placements, often wanting to return, amazed that they have
enjoyed so much working with rural people and energized by being able to give
back to the community.
|Rubana Community Meeting|
In 2012 all the three winning groups did projects related to
sanitation. They demonstrated how to
make Tippy Taps beside latrines for hand washing, encouraged building of pit
latrines and made latrine covers with community.
The groups presented their projects to the MUST Scientific
conference as well as the Medical Education for Equitable Services to All Ugandans Consortium (MESAU). Two groups used their prize money to present projects at a scientific conference in Kampala. They gained experience in writing up and presenting projects as well as in fielding comments and questions about their experiences. They also learned new skills in preparing budgets and project report.
The 2nd place group who had spent time at Kibitto
HC III in Western Uganda decided to use their prize money to partner with the
Eco-Schools project in SW Uganda. Eco- Schools are part of Conservation Efforts
for Community Development, (CECOD) which supports a curriculum about
environment sensitization and sustainability in primary schools.
They used their prize money to plan a 5 day
tour of 15 primary schools in Isingiro, Mbarara and Bushenyi districts. At each school they took the items needed to
make 2 Tippy Taps. They did one tippy
Tap as a demo for the schools and then supervised boys and girls in
constructing a second Tippy Tap. A practical return demonstration technique of
health promtoion. The group spent their
holiday time during the last week of June in the field. They will be presenting their innovative project
at the scientific conference at MUST next November. We look forward to hearing about it.
Photos: 1-3 Kisoro Gp; 4-5 Rubanda Gp
|Demonstrating Tippy Tap in Rubanda|