Slice of Life

SU Nourish International fundraises to build sustainable communities in Uganda

Students from Syracuse University’s Nourish International chapter are fundraising to return to Uganda in May to help improve local communities — this time, using an unlikely animal to ensure a sustainable economy.

Nourish International is a non-profit service organization with student-based groups nationwide. Interns from Nourish will be working with Global Health Network personnel to build and establish a piggery, where pigs will be raised and sold to create a revenue source for people in the community.

The project’s goal is to foster sustainable development, said Joyce LaLonde, the chapter’s international project leader. Roughly 10 students will be sent on the mission for six weeks to the Oyam district of northern Uganda, LaLonde said.

In order to raise the money, Nourish is pursuing a variety of fundraising ventures, including a crowdfunding contest through Nourish International titled the Giving Challenge. Participants have until Tuesday to raise money, at which point Nourish International will match 5 percent of the total dollars raised, according to its website.

As of Monday evening, the Giving Challenge raised $2,610 of its total goal of $3,350. All the money that’s raised is used to fund the group’s projects, said Haley Kulakowski, leader of SU’s Nourish chapter.

These developments are expected to cost a total of approximately $6,600–7,000, about half of which will go to the piggery, said Eliza Kinnealey, senior international relations major and Nourish’s head of fundraising ventures.

But beyond the cost of the projects, the group still has to pay to travel to Uganda.

“We don’t fund the interns, they’re responsible for funding themselves to go to Uganda,” said Kulakowski, who is a junior international relations and policy studies dual major.

From late May to early July, the groups will implement a series of projects intended to benefit the struggling communities in Oyam, LaLonde said.

Interns will go to primary schools in order to help run educational programs teaching children about proper health and sanitation. The programs will incorporate music, poetry and various interactive learning techniques that will include a debate of health policies between the schoolchildren.

LaLonde also said she and 14 other SU students went to Uganda to work for Nourish last summer. The chapter carried out its first operation in Uganda in the summer of 2014, as the organization had only begun to form at SU during the fall semester of 2013.

“Nourish has had a huge impact on me and the way I live my life,” said LaLonde, who is a sophomore public relations and policy studies dual major. “It’s very rewarding work.”

Last year, the SU student interns worked with the Global Health Network to run workshops for eight different primary schools on sanitary practices and hold workshops for adults on maternal health and financial literacy.

“The kids are so impressive because they really do know English and work really hard,” LaLonde recalled of her experiences with the primary schools last summer. “It’s really cool to see this next generation be so inquisitive.”

The chapter is also intending to run workshops for women’s groups, with the eventual goal of setting up a business to make and sell sanitary pads for women, another attempt to set up revenue sources for the communities.

“I like this particular organization because Nourish partners with organizations in the communities,” said Kelsey Modica, a senior international relations and French dual major who will be working as a Nourish intern in Uganda this summer. “We’re working to do what the community needs to be sustainable, not just going in there and saying, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’”


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