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Weʼre raising £14,300 to Okwera John Oola, to support his Master's Degree at the Bangor University for Msc Public Health and Health Promotion.

Kitgum, Uganda

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Northern Uganda has suffered 20 years of civil war; and has caused severe challenges for my education. I had to walk 16 Kms to my primary school, sometimes attacked by rebels and I could not attend school. Gun fire was all over, three (3) of my family members were arrested and did not return to date and some days I could not go to school due to rebel attacks, our houses and books were burnt due to heavy burnt by rebels. We were over 120 pupils in a dilapidated classroom. The quality of education in our school was extremely low with poorly motivated teachers who could barely teach. Lost all the assets and currently taking care of my 6 siblings. Since I do not have enough income to pay school fees and other expenses, I had to rear animals and clean neighbors’ sesame fields during weekends and holidays. As I loved learning, I excelled at school. I was always among the top best.

Though I have basic notions of development, I want to develop a more critical thinking and analytical skills to address some of the most critical development challenges such as inequality and food insecurity. This master’ degree would be pivotal because it would provide me with a knowledge to approach development problems with a deeper apprehension and develop clear understanding of the main debates and engage in an informed and critical way with other professionals from diverse backgrounds is an important advantage why I would like to attend the course in a recognized university. I am in particular looking forward new ideas, peer influence, goo teaching and skills. For me, it would be important to get new ideas and good quality teaching.

Currently, I am implementing a project that focuses on Health system strengthening in the district of Kitgum by improving linkages, referrals and tracking between Facilities and communities for community based care, support, treatment, PMTCT and OVC services. My community contribution has been mainly on a voluntary basis, through the contribution in community’s wellbeing, I was promoted from a volunteer to the role of Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. During the assigned period, I Initiated team work and stakeholders engagements in championing the reduction of HIV/AIDS through community-facilities linkages and referrals and reduction in Sexual Gender Based Violence for over 5,000 clients and 1200 girls respectively through community dialogues, health promotions, health service evaluation, linkages and referrals and Ordinances; designed a successful proposal that supports over 40,500 refugees from South Sudan through education, Health and protection (Psychosocial support) interventions at Palabek Refugee settlement Camp- Northern Uganda. Additionally, introduced and compiled the organizational policies, guidelines and electronic documents as a system as well as changes in the organizational thematic areas that include the Sustainable Development Goals (1-17). This effort had perhaps the most immediate impact, significantly improving the funding cycle, and visibility of the organization.

Three (3) years of professional experience in interventions like health and for this, I have planned and assembled tools and database for over 250,000 beneficiaries under different thematic areas/projects including health interventions and made it available to the projects managers. This strategic initiative eased the development of new projects, and continuation in making impact. For this, the organization got grants from donors like USAID and Global Fund for Children (GFC). Additionally, due to the inadequate information on the savings by the community, I initiated the saving methodology and trained over 10 functional Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) groups in the community and integrated health; this is to raise and increase the capacity of households in savings and increase household incomes while taking risks associated with their well-being and nutrition. Furthermore, with the rising crisis of HIV//AIDS in the district, conducted social mobilization and demand creation for HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention services to over 5000 people in Kitgum and Lamwo Districts through voluntary medical male circumcision. This helped the community member’s access to affordable public health services; these have been as a result of resilience and hard work with a lot of voluntary work through the youth groups under community action days.

My interest in to public health is because of the vision of the global health changing rapidly and people are dying from preventable diseases. The pathways to this course is to prepare me for a challenging rewarding career to improve the health of individuals and communities by developing essential skills in epidemiology, quantitative and qualitative research methods, medical statistics, health improvement and in devising effective public health projects. This master’s degree course will offer me pathways in intelligence, global health and nutrition in equipping me for a professional practice in these specialisms. This course will provide opportunities for me to develop comprehensive knowledge or skill in public health through advancing my analytical skills, communication skills and knowledge by prepare me to lead teams and individuals, build healthy alliances, develop capacity and capability and work in partnership to improve health and wellbeing.

My future career plans are to work as a professional public health expert at the high-level official position in development organizations like: (United Nations, European Union, and World Bank); and further become an independent development research consultant.

I pledge to bring newfound knowledge and experiences back home (Uganda) to positively enhance community transformation. The acquired skills would contribute to solving the community health challenges by: articulating a range of topics related to public health and promote the health of populations by influencing the lifestyles of populations, communities and individuals, prevent ill-health through risk assessment and the promotion and implementation of evidence-based interventions. I will endeavor to reach the furthest behind first by using and evaluating research using sound methodological principles, and provide community health practitioners with relevant tools, skills and understanding of concepts and terms, which will support effective public health practice. Additionally, enhance the institutional capacity to select and implement health programmes that represent the best choices for social and economic impact, and lastly build proposal and partnership with the University to have funds to support the Sub-Saharan population on health related issues.

Yours sincerely,

JOHN OKWERA OOLA

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    Page last updated on: 6/3/2018 6:55 PM

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      About the fundraiser
      John Okwera Oola

      John Okwera Oola

      Kitgum, Uganda

      Okwera John Oola, an Acholi by tribe, age 27, Ugandan by Nationality. A graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from Makerere University in Uganda. Three years of professional experience in community work and currently as the M&E Officer.

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