This year, our chapter sent three members to participate in GROW in Mumias, Kenya: our GROW Coordinator and our two Co-Presidents for the 2016-17 year!

Hanna Ewell, Environmental Policy Major, Class of 2017

#whyGROW? I wanted to go on GROW in order to better understand our partner’s projects and to find ways to feasibly address the challenges standing in the way of reaching sustainability, as well as to have the opportunity to get more hands-on experience in global, public health issues.

What are you most excited for on GROW? I was most excited about meeting the faces of WOPLAH – the Ambassadors of Hope and their beneficiaries. Putting a face to the incredible work they do helped me understand their passion and commitment. Despite growing up in Nairobi, I had never been to Western Kenya, so I was also excited to see a new part of the country I consider home.

What are your team’s biggest goals on GROW? I think one of our team’s biggest goals on GROW was to identify the gaps in both technical and financial knowledge (such as data management for potential funding sources and grant writing), in order to provide WOPLAH with the tools to do the same, as well as to find sustainable ways to manage and close these gaps. This was especially important considering the increasing pushback from Colorado College driving us toward a more sustainable partnership model. Therefore, another goal was also to find ways to capture WOPLAH’s work in a way that would convey their success and the importance of our partnership to the CC administration.

Cheryn Aouaj, Molecular Biology Major, Class of 2017

#whyGROW? I wanted to go on GROW this year so that I could achieve a greater understanding of our partner organization, WOPLAH and their impact on the community. I believe that you’re able to learn the most from physically being present and active, so it was important for me to go on GROW in order to grasp the big picture and the tiny details of WOPLAH.

What are you most excited for on GROW? I was most excited about being on the ground, doing field visits, and seeing the beneficiaries that WOPLAH supports. Throughout my GROW experience, interacting with WOPLAH members and beneficiaries was the most exciting and captivating part because I was able to see how successful and capable these individuals were.

What are your team’s biggest goals on GROW? One of our biggest goals was to truly understand the ins and outs of WOPLAH so that we could convey their mission, strategies successes, and failures back to our chapter the following year. We want members to be more involved, committed, and knowledgeable on WOPLAH and the CC-WOPLAH partnership, and we thought we could lessen the gap best once we understood how WOPLAH operated ourselves. Along with learning about WOPLAH, our goal was to empower them and encourage the organization to strengthen their own resources and capabilities. This became a goal after assessing our long-term partnership with WOPLAH and the concept of sustainability.

Sidharth Tripathi, Organismal Biology Major, Class of 2017

#whyGROW? My primary interest in GROW stems from wanting to create a stronger understanding between our campus and global health. At our universities, we live in a bubble, sometimes completely unaware of the health disparities that occur in our bordering communities. Unaware of these challenges that people face, it becomes very difficult to have conversations regarding our privilege. GROW will hopefully provide me with a greater understanding of how health disparities function in a global context, and at the same time provide me an opportunity to have a conversation regarding privilege with my peers back at home.

What are you most excited for on GROW? I am most excited about meeting Edwin, our partner organization’s coordinator. His impact on others leaves me in awe, and frankly meeting him will hopefully give us a clearer picture about how WOPLAH operates.

What are your team’s biggest goals on GROW? Our team’s biggest goal on GROW is to initiate a conversation on sustainability, and in doing so analyze the overall sustainability of Colorado College’s partnership with WOPLAH. We will also be conducting grant writing workshops for our organization with the aim of building WOPLAH’s capacity.

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