GlobeMed at Middlebury College partners with Gardens for Health International in Kigali, Rwanda, to provide a sustainable approach to nutritional independence.
GlobeMed at Middlebury College + Gardens for Health International
GlobeMed at Middlebury College | Middlebury, Vermont
Gardens for Health International (GHI) | Kigali, Rwanda
Gardens for Health International (GHI) was founded in 2007 by two university sophomores, Emma Clippinger and Emily Morell, both then interns with the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) in Rwanda, who were dismayed to discover the extent to which malnutrition was routinely undermining the efficacy of antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS patients.
Good nutrition helps HIV/AIDS patients stay healthy longer, adhere to drug therapy, and maintain a better quality of life. Yet, available food aid is short-term and inconsistent in Rwanda, and people living with HIV/AIDS are rarely the beneficiaries of agricultural interventions or micro-lending.
“I think I speak for the entire GROW team in saying we are incredibly excited both for what we accomplished this summer and what we can do in the future. We learned an enormous amount about how to improve upon our work and are ready for next year to be even more successful than this year.”
– Sam Peisch, Middlebury College ’13
About the Partnership
The Gardens for Health International (GHI) model represents a sustainable alternative to food aid packages, which can bring immediate results but offer little incentive for self-sufficiency. GHI aims to improve the health and socioeconomic status of Rwandans living with HIV/AIDS by equipping them with a different kind of package:
(1) Cooperative formation & land advocacy
(2) Inputs for community & home gardens
(3) Agriculture & nutrition training
(4) Income generation through agribusiness
GHI does not promise participants an immediate solution; rather, the gardens serve as places for those facing similar challenges to mobilize and work together to produce their own high-nutrient food and generate income. By working with existing community groups, GHI strengthens local, existing infrastructure rather than imposing new protocols and structures. Since their partnership started in Fall 2011, GlobeMed at Middlebury College and GHI have raised $15,000 to support the expansion of GHI’s work in Rwanda.
This year GlobeMed at Middlebury is funding the expansion of Gardens for Health International’s malnutrition program to a new health center in a neighboring district. This includes education and training for GHI staff, construction of gardens for 120 homes, facilitated agricultural training in water harvesting, storage and irrigation, and the creation of a framework for sustainability. Furthermore, they are providing GHI staff with Geographic Information Systems software and training so that they can more efficiently track the Rwandan communities with the highest rates of malnutrition and target their programs accordingly.
GlobeMed at Middlebury College and Gardens for Health International hope to utilize the data gathered through the Geographic Information Systems software and continue to expand their nutrition programs as necessary. Ultimately they hope to create sustainable, long-term solutions for all families impacted by malnutrition in order to eradicate malnutrition in the country of Rwanda.