Photo by Peg Skorpinski
Jenn Jehnsen is a CNR Student majoring in Environmental Sciences. She is also minoring in Global Poverty and Practice via the Blum Center for Developing Economies.
She was given the opportunity of presenting a gift to former President Bill Clinton from the Blum Center for Developing Economices because she is a peer adviser for her minor, Global Poverty and Practice. She presented the gift after Clinton's speech on what global citizenship means. "It was really exciting to share that moment with president Clinton because he had just talked about what global citizenship means, and I have been trying to figure that out myself ever since my trip to Uganda. I also love that President Clinton inspired us as young people, because we are the generation that can bring change", says Jenhsen.
She spent the Summer of 2009 as an intern with the Uganda Village Project (UVP), working as a team leader for the "Healthy Villages Initiative". The Healthy Villages Initiative is an aims to take a grassroots approach to addresssing rural healthcare and public health in Uganda. Its main goal is to improve the provisions of healthcare and access to preventative health education to underserved populations in the Iganga District, one of the poorest districts in Uganda. "Through Healthy Villages Initiative, UVP targets the primary health risks of the region at the village level, working with the District Health Office (DHO) of Iganga, with Sub-County Officials, and with local Health Center Staff", describes Jehnsen. " UVP launched Healthy Villages in five 'pilot' villages during the summer of 2009, and will eventually expand to work in a total of 70 chosen villages. All villages are based around the same five health centers, and all fall into the bottom quartile in sanitation and access to clean water".
Her team sold insecticide-treated mosquito nets at a subsidized price along with educational outreaches with these sales to ensure people were using them correctly. In addition, they sold Waterguard, a water chlorination product that can treat a family's drinking water for up to a year for around 25 cents, also in conjunction with educational outreaches. Her team also brought free HIV/AIDS testing to the village, for which over 150 people, both young and old, came to get tested.
"The testing organization told us that our village had a particularly high number of HIV positive people, and for those who tested positive, treatment was available for them through The AIDS Support Organization, funded by the U.S. While implementing these initiatives, I encountered many challenges including cultural differences, language barriers, and lack of support from the NGO and from the local government", says Jehnsen.