from: Denise Rosca PAper Micro ClassDenise

How are you?

Denise Rosca PAper Micro ClassDenise

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from: Denise Rosca PAper Micro ClassDenise

Hi! How are you?News from Oprah:
She says it works!

Denise Rosca PAper Micro ClassDenise
Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

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Denise Rosca PAper Micro ClassDenise


How are you?

It works!

Denise Rosca PAper Micro ClassDenise

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GAIA: An impact so easy to see even a French beginner can understand it

When originally planning for the trip to West Africa I was at first a bit apprehensive of site visits in French. I’ve only studied the language for a year and I feared I might not be able to understand the organization’s work or get a good sense of their impact if the visit was entirely in French.

Meeting with GAIA Foundation however quickly put these fears aside.  Understanding the amazing work of GAIA does not require nuance or subtlety.  Their work is clear, direct and entails the truly praiseworthy work of literally saving lives on a daily basis. Over a number days in Bamako, Mali I had the opportunity to learn about this work both on “official” and “unofficial” site visits with the organization.

Though the “official” site visit occurred on July 12th, I would say the unofficial portion of the visit began when Lorraine and I moved into the GAIA guesthouse and were greeted by two enthusiastic and passionate GAIA volunteers, Tonyu and Emily. I don’t think GAIA could have found two better representatives or endorsements than these two. Not only did they spend long nights explaining the difficult situation of health in Mali, but they also detailed the innovate approach GAIA has undertaken along with providing us an introduction to the inspiring doctor we would meet the following day, the local director of GAIA Dr. Tounkara.  He would not disappoint. We learned that the organization works in the Sinkoro area, a part of Bamako that has been traditionally undeserved by health services with approximately 1 doctor per 40,000 patients.  Devastating diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis have had a profound effect on the community and continue to disrupt the lives of many throughout the area.

As for the “official” site visit Dr. Tounkara, or as many call him “Kara”, walked us through the Hope Clinic, greeting staff and patients alike along the way. He explained how GAIA is working in conjunction with the Malian government to make the clinic into a model that can be replicated throughout the country. The clinic takes a holistic approach to health, but has been greatly aided by GAIA’s support in fighting HIV/AIDS and Tubrcolosis through both treatment and outreach.

Sitting down with the head of the Hope clinic, we learned how GAIA has additionally been instrumental in stepping in where the Malian government funds leave off.  GAIA has been able to raise funds for advanced medical equipment and facilities, when the government of Mali is unable to provide the funding.  What is truly unique is the way GAIA does not direct the improvements but responds to the needs of the community and its leaders.

Donating money can sometimes be a tricky business and it can be difficult to understand the impact of your donation. Furthermore, development models have proven complicated and often produce ambiguous results. These doubts are not necessary with GAIA. Their impact is so clear that even a French beginner can understand them. GAIA’s projects transform lives and represent a glimpse at the future of health in Mali.

…and if you’re still not convinced they also speak English.

If you you would like more information about GAIA please click on one of their four project links:

Facilitating Access to Tuberculosis Care in Mali:

Born Free of HIV in West Africa:

HIV and TB Care at the Village Level in Mali:

Nutrition and Peer Support for HIV+ Patients:

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A Creative Solution to Health Care in Mali

Postcard 7/12: 

As you glance around Bamako, Mali, it is easy to be struck by the numerous ways in which it is

A community health worked documents a child's temperature via text

different  from cities in the United States—the women selling bananas off the tops of their heads, the children running barefoot down the road, chasing tires, and the goats standing lazily in the middle of the street chewing on discarded corn. What is harder, and often much more important, is to be reminded of the ways in which it is similar. The cost of health care, for example, is an issue of similar importance in Bamako, New York, Washington, DC, and other cities throughout the world. And while my country, the United States, was fighting a political battle over health care last year, the organization, Mali Health Organizing Project (MHOP), was developing an innovative, community-based solution to children’s health care in several communities in Bamako, Mali. The program, entitled Action for Health, aims to provide free health care for children in Bamako in exchange for “community action” or days of volunteering on part of children’s parents. 

A community health worker measuring the width of a child's arm


As one MHOP volunteer explained, “people want to invest in their children’s health care; they just don’t have the cash.” So MHOP has given them a free alternative. By enrolling in MHOP’s health care program, children are insured against the five leading causes of children’s death in Mali including malnutrition, malaria, and measles. The organization has even gone so far as to develop a monitoring system in which community health workers conduct monthly house visits for children enrolled in the program, using innovative mobile phone technology to track the growth and health of children ages 5 and under.   

By working closely with the Ghanaian government’s health services, and collaborating directly with the local community, MHOP has developed an exciting and impactful program that already serves 385 children and 245 women! Although the organization has hopes of expansion, they are grounded in a desire for sustainability that is refreshing and important. The success that the program has experienced after just 4 ½ months of operations can only be seen as a predictor of even greater accomplishments to come!

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A Day of Corn and Legos

Sarah learning about casava from Kadiatou's father

A Child for All takes a sustainable approach to helping Malian orphans. The orphanage just opened in the middle of June and by the end of this month will have at least 8 orphans living there. Zoumana, the director of the orphanage, took us on a full day’s tour of the varying facets of the organization. We went to one of the farms which is used to support the children. The father of Kadiatou (the founder of A Child for All) owns the farm and oversees the production as well as working the land himself to help his daughter’s endeavor. The farm grows everything from peanuts to mangos and corn, the sprouts of which were just coming up as we were given a tour of the plot.

                After seeing the farm, we went to the orphanage. The children, thus far all boys, were dressed in nice clean soccer uniforms, sitting outside playing with Legos, some of the first toys I’d seen on in the past month. Isha, the live-in head of the

The four boys in their soccer uniforms

orphanage took us for a walk with the boys. They were well behaved and amazingly enough, their nice white jerseys stayed white- not an easy feat for boys of their age. While Isha cared for the children, there was another woman who cooks for the children and cleans.

We were welcomed to spend a night at the orphanage for the full experience. Unlike many places we visited, the home was equipped with electricity and running water which will help the children stay healthy. the way they cared for us is certainly a reflection of how they cared for the children, and they are doing an amazing job! A Child for All is providing the children with the a nourishing environment needed to allow them to learn and thrive.

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What’s in store?

So far…we have visited 27 GlobalGiving partner organizations, hosted 5 workshops (for over 150 organizations), and traveled through 4 countries. We’ve been to Lome’s Fetish Market, seen the Wli Falls in Eastern Ghana, hung out at the beaches on the Ghanaian coast, and banged on “bongo” rocks in Bongo, Ghana. But the adventure is not over yet! More is yet to come. Just this week we will be posting about our site visits to Mali Health Organizing Project and GAIA.

And, as the whirlwind GlobalGiving trip begins to come to a close the team has begun to disperse! Here’s what each team member will be up to in the coming weeks:

Denise left Bamako Monday afternoon to spent a relaxing week in Accra after which she will be heading to Mombasa, Kenya for an internship with a microfinance institution there.

Sarah and Andrew are making their way back to Accra by land, first by making the long trip back to Ouagadougou and then stopping at Mole National Park (to see some elephants) and later one of Ghana’s stilt villages (that’s right, it’s a village built on stilts). After Andrew leaves, Sarah will be spending a few weeks working with an organization on the coast of Ghana!

Alexis and Lorraine are heading for Dogon Country at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning (with Alexis’ boyfriend Brian who just arrived in Mali for the week). They’re also hoping to visit the big mosque in Djené! After her brief vacation Alexis is heading back to the States to pick up where she left off at GlobalGiving whereas Lorraine has been offered an exciting internship opportunity in Mali, where she will be for the next two to three weeks!

Stay tuned as team members to continue to blog about their summer adventures!

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