Running a charitable health clinic in Uganda

The experiences and the ongoing challenges and enjoyment of managing a philanthropic health facility. Watching it grow through active community support and helping through coordination with national programmes, local NGO and groups and international like-minded people.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Income generating activities - volunteer intern wanted

Description: Hope Clinic Lukuli and Kinawataka Women's Initiative have formed a partnership to expand the number of women and households who can prepare and weave waste plastic drinking straws into lengths of 'material'. This material is then used to make mats and shopping/ sports bags to replace disposable plastic bags. All sale proceeds from the products are paid to the weavers/ bag makers.

The volunteer post is to 'make this happen'. Support the marketing, liase with customers, help the women organise into production and finishing teams and create links to buyers in Europe and North America

- Living in Kampala, a friendly city in East Africa
- Helping women in households on low income to generate their own earnings for food and education
- Reducing waste that pollutes water sources and block rain drains (that otherwise lead to floods)
- Supporting a philanthropic health centre to address income needs of its community

Qualifications: The volunteer should be a graduate or have over three years of experience in a trading or retail business. The role of Income Generating Activity (IGA) Coordinator draws on skills of customer service, product quality control, marketing to developed world customers and a willingness to build the skills amongst women to access these markets. English would be the language of work.

Languages :
  • English

Cost in US$: 2000

Cost Includes :
  • International travel
Cost Include Description:
Volunteers should plan and pay for international travel to Uganda. Suitable, safe accommodation can be provided near the clinic. Volunteers are asked to pay for their own meals and incidental costs

Experience Required: yes

Experience of planning an income generating activity or business or coordinating a local event/ relief effort

Volunteer Types :
  • AIDS
  • business
  • economic development
  • health
  • income-generation
  • micro-enterprise
  • natural resources
  • orphans
  • small business development
  • women

Typical Volunteer: Graduate or medical trainee, Peace Corps Volunteer or VSO. Some experience travelling in Africa or developing world.

Age Range: adults

This Program is open to American, Asian, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi and South African Participants. This Program is also open to Couples and Individuals

Typical Living Arrangements :
  • Home-stays

Participants Travel to Uganda Independently

Typically Participants Work Independently

Application Process Involves:

  • Written Application

Hope Clinic Lukuli's Mission Statement: Hope Clinic Lukuli was formed by six Ugandans and two resident Britons who wanted to support a dedicated midwife in providing services for children and adults, particularly related to fevers, dehydration and pregnancy. Our mission/ purpose has been formalised as: That people living near the clinic receive the medical information and treatment they require at a price they can afford and thereby have an improved medical history and general lifestyle". None of the founders/ managers receive any payment from the clinic or its work. Our website decribes the growth and current programmes as well as including articles and tv features of the impact we are having on people's lives.

Year Founded: 2000

Women and Hope Clinic Lukuli

Joyce Bbosa is an experienced midwife who described at her retirement how she has delivered the village with her own two hands. Joyce, then in her 50s, was working in a two room structure helping children with fevers – whether malaria or not – and helping scared young mothers living in Kampala away from their family support, at home in the village. Hope Clinic Lukuli grew from these two rooms by the work of a women-led committee of non-medics. Small actions by the people living in Lukuli village on the edge of Kampala brought child immunisation to the families; help with oral rehydration to manage the fevers; and access to HIV testing for the pregnant mothers and others to help reduce new infections.

Hope Clinic Lukuli has continued since 2000, and despite Joyce’s retirement in 2004, to become a new facility offering family planning and maternal health, admissions for deliveries, a laboratory and out-patients department. What makes it unusual is that the community expanded the clinic without any expectation of deriving an income from it – the founders are retired teachers, former public sector workers, a shop-keeper, an administrator, a surveyor and an accountant. Social entrepreneurship is talked about in the US and Europe, but in Uganda it is people using their own skills and networks to help others for no personal gain. The clinic has grown in patient numbers and in response to request for services to women in the community. It now caters for child immunisation; nutrition advice and infant food supplements. The reproductive health services range from information to youth and advice on family planning options, the free of charge provision of implants and other FP commodities, ante-natal and PMTCT sessions and continued counselling and support through and after delivery. Through a recent International Women’s Organisation grant, the clinic has replaced the two maternity beds (from the IWO six years ago!) and our mothers-to-be have their own room to prepare and to deliver in.

Hope Clinic Lukuli’s goal is to minimise the physical and financial barriers for women in their own right and as the guardian of children to access accurate and prompt health advice. We maintain the consultation charge at less than $0.50 which is less than the cost of the most basic meal – so hopefully affordable to all. Alongside free immunisation and family planning, we use donations and sponsorship of nurses and midwives to subsidise the laboratory and other costs the clinic incurs to reduce the fees faced by the patient. Hope Clinic is open 24hours a day, every day, with a midwife and a Clinical Officer on duty at night – because that is when the babies come! We deliver an average of 15 babies a month; some to HIV positive mothers, but our PMTCT services means we can protect mother and baby.

What should you do? – offer your time and skills to an existing service near you. Don’t build or set up from scratch, support what the community already uses