GlobeMed at Colorado College partners with Western Organization of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Western Kenya to improve the health of vulnerable communities.
GlobeMed at Colorado College + Western Organization of People Living with HIV/AIDS
GlobeMed at Colorado College | Colorado Springs, Colorado
Western Organization of People Living with HIV/AIDS | Western Kenya
Kenya currently has the fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world.
“WOPLAH wishes to work with GlobeMed students to help in sharing and transferring information from different areas. It’s expected for us to learn from the students as they also learn from us.”
– Edwin Wetoyi, Program Coordinator at WOPLAH
About the Partnership
The Colorado College chapter of GlobeMed is partnered with WOPLAH, the Western Organization of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Mumias, Kenya. WOPLAH aims to address the pain and suffering of orphans, vulnerable children, and people living with HIV/AIDS in Western Kenya. WOPLAH was founded in 2008 by eleven community leaders known as the Ambassadors of Hope. Together they recognized a need within their community for equitable access to HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, health education, and economic empowerment. The Ambassadors work to reduce stigma for people living positively with HIV/AIDS and their families through support groups, community dialogues, and income generation. WOPLAH’s vision is a society in which all people can realize their full potential to enhance their lives through achieving universal health equity.
WOPLAH’s projects include kitchen gardens, goat rearing, education and outreach, a jiggers campaign, poultry rearing, and village banking.
WOPLAH partners with community-based HIV/AIDS support groups to rent plots of land on which members can grow a variety of vegetables. Their crops can be sold for income or consumed by the members and their families to boost nutrition.
For goat rearing, WOPLAH designates members of the support groups to receive training to raise and breed dairy goats. Beneficiaries are trained to use the goats’ manure in their kitchen gardens to increase crop yield and learn about the nutritional benefits of goat’s milk, specifically as a substitute for breast milk.
WOPLAH offers a variety of education and outreach programs for people of all ages. Community Health Dialogues bring Community Health Workers together for trainings and to discuss best practices. WOPLAH’s children’s club brings HIV positive and negative children together to discuss a multitude of issues. WOPLAH also created an Early Childhood Development Center to provide an education for young children who have been affected by HIV/AIDS.
WOPLAH partners with primary and secondary schools to treat jiggers-infected children and teach prevention methods. WOPLAH is now implementing a revised jiggers eradication plan whereby community health workers will be trained to combat jiggers at the household level.
For the poultry project, WOPLAH designates members of support groups to receive chickens. Beneficiaries can sell or eat the eggs and chickens depending on their economic and nutritional needs. WOPLAH’s Ambassadors of Hope also have their own poultry project which can help with WOPLAH’s internal costs as well as provide chicks to support groups.
Village banking consists of the lending out of small, low-interest loans in order to empower support groups. Support groups are then provided with the training and skills to make informed decisions regarding the use of their loan. Groups often use funds to pay for medications and school fees or to support vulnerable children.
GlobeMed at Colorado College hopes to raise $9,400 this year for the six projects WOPLAH has initiated. This will include funding operational costs, the purchase of medical kits for the 120 Community Health Works, seeds and a lease for 3 new garden groups, and training and initial loans for 13 new Village Banking Groups.