We at SOGH strive to make all our projects as environmentally friendly as possible. Read below about the steps we take to reach that goal.
The Mama and Family project
One of the aspects of the project is the yearly evaluation of the project, which requires SOGH volunteers to fly over to Uganda in order to interview the on-site workers. Due to the high carbon footprint of air travel, the possibility of conducting the interviews virtually has been considered. In fact, the COVID crisis has made flying impossible, so in 2020 SOGH was given the opportunity to try out virtual interviews. Unfortunately, challenges were presented: the internet connection over in the villages is inconsistent and the volunteers were only able to interview one of the coordinators and got a narrow view of the project. One of the purposes of the project is to establish a relationship based on trust with the local villagers and on-site workers, which can hardly be achieved by virtual communication. However, it has been proposed that the SOGH volunteers who travel to Uganda should only be a few, long-time members of SOGH as opposed to summer interns. This would ensure that the relationship built over the trip is long-lasting and that the positive outcomes of the trip outweigh the negatives.
Locally, the volunteers use bikes, which are a climate responsible way to travel. Fancy, the nurse responsible for visiting the pregnant women and young mothers, takes local taxis. This is necessary as she has to travel between distant villages and also has to arrive in a timely manner.
Additionally, SOGH provides the expectant mothers with Mama Kits required for the birth. These consist of sterile gloves, plastic sheets, cord ligature, razor blades, tetracycline, cotton, soap and sanitary pads. While some of the components of the kits are plastic based, they are necessary as maintaining a sterile and safe environment during the birth is a key goal of the project.
The Menstrual Health project
The question of flying is presented once again: similarly to the Mama and Family project, it has been decided that flying is justifiable but only by people who are involved on a long-term basis with SOGH and will help build a relationship with our Ugandan partners.
The choice of menstrual products that will be provided depends on the local conditions. In an attempt to be environmentally responsible, as well as help the community become self-sufficient, SOGH wants to provide the villages with reusable menstrual products. This includes menstrual cups and reusable pads. While running water is not a reliable resource, there is a communal tap in most villages, which means that the menstrual cups and pads can be boiled after use, making them a viable option. The project consists of educational campaigns as well. Similarly to the choice of menstrual products, the purpose of the project is to help the communities become self-sufficient. Educational materials should be durable eg. flyers should be laminated, demonstration materials should be high-quality.
The Tanden Frisk project
One of the key elements of the workshops is teaching kids how to correctly brush their teeth by providing them with plastic toothbrushes at location and allowing them to practice. An element of worry is that the children unwrap the toothbrushes at the location of the workshop and then don’t use them again, leading to plastic waste. A possible solution to combat this problem is having one person demonstrate correct brushing and allowing the kids to take home the toothbrushes in their original packaging. Additionally, SOGH is in the process of establishing a relationship with an eco-friendly toothbrush-producing company which might be interested in sponsoring the project. This way, SOGH is hoping to reduce plastic waste. Lastly, SOGH has in the past printed out feedback forms from teachers. From now on, the feedback will be collected via email.