Development in Real-Time: 3 Disease-Related Deaths in 2 Weeks on Student Projects

Last week I wrote about 2 deaths caused by malaria in a Ugandan community that a student team’s field project is focused on.

This week: Genevieve Lamond (UK), Martha Njoroge (Kenya), Kathy Tate-Bradish (US) are working on an HIV related project in Kenya. The thrust of their project is to provide support for 40 children who are HIV/AIDS orphans.

Community needs assessment in the Kenyan community. See vote results & photos.
Their plight is complicated by the fact that these children are undernourished and don’t have access to healthcare—nor to decent hygiene. These complications lead to chronic disease among the children like marasmus and kwashiorkor. The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that six of the children were HIV-positive themselves. Their project is in the initial stage of project design/funding.

Yesterday I received news from this team that one of the HIV-positive children died:

Says Kathy: “On Thursday our Kenyan teammate Martha Njoroge had to attend the funeral of a seven-and-a-half year old boy who was a member of our project and community. Brian. He was an HIV+ orphan, being raised by his poor, elderly grandmother. It seems to have been a combination of TB and malnutrition which his thin, immune-compromised body couldn’t combat any longer. The two of them evidently often went to bed hungry, and the grandmother didn’t want to ask for help, so the community wasn’t fully aware of the severity of their plight. It was certainly a wake-up call. This is important, and heartbreaking, work. Our motivation has never been stronger!”

Says Genevieve: “Martha and I had some sad news this week – one of the young boys we’ve been trying to support actually died at the beginning of the week.

He was just nearly 8yrs old and had been born with HIV, recently he contracted TB and seems his condition then progressed to AIDS. His sickness wasn’t helped by lack of food and nutrition and his granny wasn’t confident enough to approach Martha to ask for more help, in fact she told her that the food we’d given out in a meeting in August had been used little by little for their few meals.

This has really highlighted the need for sustainable food systems and adequate nutrition (as well as measures to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS) but in a way that old people can manage as well, particularly as they are often the ones left to care for their grandchildren.

There are five more HIV+ children in our group so we’re going to make more efforts to ensure that for the time being they are provided with nutritious foods to take with their ARVs”.

Martha, Kathy and Genevieve’s team is tackling the challenges this community faces with a three component project:
1. HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health Education Program
2. Advocacy program for access to health care
3. Family Garden and Nutrition Program

Good job Team Kenya!

This sad news from Uganda and Kenya brings to light three important things.
1. There is tremendous need in the developing world for a wide range of overwhelming problems.
2. Our online students working in the field are confronted in real time by these terrible challenges in actual, on-the-ground projects that they’re developing in the courses.
3. We need to scale up our online course program to be able to get sound development tools into the hands of many more people.

In the first 21 months of our online courses, 500 people from 320 organizations in 113 countries have developed/are developing projects positively impacting 170,000 people.

Help us scale our courses so that our partners can impact 200,000 people by year’s end.
Please consider spreading the word about our courses to your friends and colleagues through your blog, your newsletter or your Facebook account—or by simply commenting on this post on our Facebook page.

Consider making a scholarship donation for those field staff members who can’t afford the course fees.

To learn about student projects in real time, please visit our Facebook Page or CSDi Development Community to see their postings.

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The Center for Sustainable Development specializes in providing sound, evidence-based information, tools and training for humanitarian development professionals worldwide. CSDi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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