Over the years Gulu University engages community members in student centered outreach. This program offers both a learning as well as experiential engagement platforms for students and the community. This year in June five students pursuing MSc Food Security and community Nutrition, Iyaloo Sheyavali from Namibia, Nelson Pappie from Liberia, Sognigbe Monique from Benin, Nanok Aaron from Kenya, Merveen Nafula from Uganda were attached in the nutritional unit of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital. In the final week of their attachment focused on preventive nutrition, the students shared their experience through conducting a nutritional demonstration activity with about thirty 25 mothers attending a nutrition ward at the health facility. In the students words, they said
To be attached in this unit was not only to acquire knowledge but also turned out to be morally fulfilling, giving us a great chance to contribute back to the community even if we are still students.
Combining with staff of the hospital, other students attached to the ward, the team of Mastercard Foundation and RUFORUM sponsored students organized a nutrition demonstration activity focused on imparting knowledge to caregivers/mothers on preparation of complementary food and balanced diet using locally available, affordable, safe and nutritious. Hygiene and sanitation were also emphasized from handling, preparation and consumption. For the care givers and mothers the excitement could not be hidden, a young mother remarked thus,
Now we know that all the healthy good foods we require for our babies and our families are actually usually with us”. A second remarked, “We are glad to learn how we can achieve good health even without need to have a lot of money.
For the students the feedback was both satisfying and challenging. The mothers challenged them that such kind of training is beneficial and should be cascaded to community level for large coverage of mothers. This is a challenge to the students as well as the University as students only have limited time for community attachment and therefore can only reach a few students yet the programs are very much appreciated as in this case.
Appreciation: The students, staff and community thank the Mastercard foundation, Gulu University and RUFORUM for supporting the students centered outreach program