The lack of access to health care and inadequate actions to prevent disease and promote health contribute to a lower quality of life and stunt economic and social progress.
Major health problems in Ethiopia and Rwanda include maternal mortality, malaria, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, sanitation, and HIV/AIDS.
Each of these health problems can be addressed by improving access to medical care, encouraging behaviors, such as safe sex practices, that prevent these illness and health problems. Almost 40% of children in Rwanda and Ethiopia are malnourished (USAID), which can lead to stunted growth, arrested development, and death. When students are malnourished, they are often distracted, tired, and unable to focus and learn, which can perpetuate the poverty cycle among generations.
Lack of adequate sanitation is also a large health concern. Dirt floors, lack of running water and indoor plumbing can all spread germs and parasites causing serious health issues. Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death in Africa, and the main causes stem from poor sanitation practices. Many families do not contain the resources to practice good hygiene and sanitation, while others lack knowledge necessary to keep these practices.
To apply advances from the social sciences to create behavioral changes that will reduce malnutrition, increase sanitation practices, reduce infectious diseases, and promote positive youth development behaviors that will limit at-risk behaviors. We will work at the individual and community level to provide resources and education needed for families to practice good hygiene and sanitation in their homes, reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS by teaching, and promote good decision making skills.
We will work with local health officials, experts, and community leaders to ensure we identify needs specific to the community and implement programs in ways that are consistent with and acceptable by the local culture. We will work with community leaders to introduce our initiatives and engage the community members to implement these programs and ensure their sustainability.
Past projects interns have contributed to: