|Undergraduate PHWB students lead "MyPlate" workshop|
Monday, February 1, 2016
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Pictured above: an elementary school garden that PHWB has been helping to develop. Fortified seeds were brought, and proper cultivating techniques were taught. This is now a "demo" garden for future elementary school gardening programs that PHWB is helping to foster.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Monday, February 9, 2015
Written by Dominic Hosack
One school that we visited has an expansive garden run by students in an after school program. Students who work in the garden take produce home to their families, and many also use their knowledge to grow additional vegetables at home. Another school has a smaller garden and is excited to expand. Both schools welcome teacher training, parent engagement, and integrated nutrition education using the garden.
The project, which will include curriculum and survey development, community engagement, and school capacity building, presents a broad range of opportunities for data collection, evaluation, and dissemination of new knowledge and best practices. Debre Berhan University stressed their desire to conduct research and publish with foreign university collaborators and expand their outreach to the community, and this unique opportunity fosters collaboration for such a purpose.
As a doctoral student and graduate student mentor for PHWB, I plan to actively engage in the writing process and data management for the Ethiopia project. It is my hope that PHWB can begin a long commitment to collecting and disseminating evidence-based research to support each project being conducted.
One of the first things I noticed upon my arrival in Ethiopia was scaffolding. Scaffolding made of thin eucalyptus trunks wrapped precariously around enormous empty concrete structures. The blocks around our hotel in Bole were littered with half-constructed high rises and sidewalks covered with sand, dirt, and rocks. These signs of skyward movement were just one indicator of how quickly Ethiopia is developing…one of many that I observed.
The city of Addis Ababa is building its’ first light rail which is to run north to south and east to west, connecting the city’s sprawling population. One hot highland day we decided to take a trip to a beautiful lakeside resort and hired a van and driver to take us there as well as a few other touristy sites. On the way out of the capitol, we hit a crowd of standstill traffic. Hundreds of busses packed with people, double loaded semi-trucks, and family-sized economy cars alike were stuck in the dusty heat for over two hours. We later learned that this traffic jam was unusually long but was partially the result of detour around a giant highway construction project that was being undertaken by the Ethiopian government. The massive and empty four-lane highway was a stark contrast from the crowded dirt road that served as the temporary on-ramp.
Other surprising sights included brand new tolls booths erected next to wooden huts on the side of the road, and a city comprised of almost completely finished apartment buildings that was completely, and eerily, uninhabited. Even the university campus that we visited in Debre Berhan was showed signs of rapid development. Debre Berhan University covers a sprawling area of hillside with brightly colored school buildings and cobblestone pathways. The university itself is only seven years old, but the number of students enrolled has soared to 18,000 individuals. I was pleased to see the spacious campus because its continued construction and bustling student life represented an optimistic outlook on the growth of the university and the emphasis on building a reputation as one of the best colleges in Ethiopia.
Despite the modernity and rapid development that I witnessed in Ethiopia, there is a beautiful juxtaposition of old and new in all of the construction. The campus buildings still seemed to be made of a mixture of straw and cement, the cobblestones were hand cut by local students and workers, the construction of 10-story buildings still relied on eucalyptus tree truck scaffolding wrapped with twine and hand-mixed concrete. Rarely would I see a construction crane or cement mixing truck. The lesson I learned through these observations is that Ethiopia is definitely pushing forward structurally, economically, and societally, but it still retains many traditions and elements of its beautiful culture through the use of local products and ancient practices.
Written by Jesse H. Wilson III
The growth in the city is perfectly reflected just through the gates of DBU, in its speedy construction and devotion to the quality of its education amidst rapid increases in student enrollment. The students and staff are as resilient and eager as any to learn and grow while working towards the development of their city and nation. What drives these individuals is the goal to one day contribute all they can to their families, communities, and Ethiopia as a whole. Many seek to become medical doctors to prevent disease and bring efficient and accessible healthcare to all Ethiopians. Others seek to strengthen the economy, infrastructure, or government. But all exhibit a national pride that rivals any other.
The DBU administration and faculty we met place a high value on research and community service, making it a general requirement for all public health students and a core responsibility of faculty and staff. In brainstorming ways that UMD PHWB students and DBU students could work together, one specific DBU program expresses the most compatibility for collaboration. The Community Based Team Project (CBTP) in the College of Medicine and Health Sciences is a practicum course for 3rd year public health students that trains them to apply their knowledge of community health issues such as nutrition, disease prevention, and sanitation. The program incorporates research techniques, data collection, analysis of community strengths and needs, intervention development and implementation, and evaluation. This comprehensive program is everything that the PHWB team could wish for.
When PHWB returns in the late spring, the students at DBU and UMD will work in tandem in the community of Debre Berhan to prevent malnutrition. Both the PHWB team and DBU are extremely excited to be working together on this project. But I believe that the team is most excited to contribute to the development of this flourishing community.