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Environmental Health students visit Uganda to support local communities

29th May 2015

A TRIO of Geography students from Northumbria University, Newcastle, are set to embark on the trip of a lifetime this week to help communities in Uganda. 

Supporting UK charity, Water for Kids, three students from the University’s BSc Environmental Health course will visit villages in the Iganga region of Uganda to help combat the spread of infectious disease, and improve the health and wellbeing of the community.

The three girls, Ashleigh Jobes, Alexandra Wilson and Eimear Harrigan, will spend more than two weeks helping to dig wells, protect water sources and build latrines, while utilising their skills and knowledge from the course to help create sustainable communities by providing education about hygiene and infectious disease control.

Alexandra said: “The trip is set to be an amazing experience for us all. Not only will we learn so much about ourselves and other cultures, but we will have the opportunity to show what we have learned from our time at Northumbria in the five subject areas of Environmental Health.

“We are extremely privileged to have been sponsored by the Rotarians, as without them we wouldn’t be able to go on the trip.  I am very grateful for their contribution and look forward to sharing our experiences with them when we return.”

Simon Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Health with Northumbria’s Geography Department, said: “Students completing Environmental Health courses at Northumbria fulfil the academic requirements for being accredited as an Environmental Health Practitioner by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, but it is the practical experience and opportunities provided by Northumbria that sets our candidates apart from others when it comes to career building. They are showing the type of exciting work Environmental Health Practitioners can do.

“This unique venture will further the girls’ studies in an exceptional environment, where they can really put what they have learned into context to help other people.”

Students were supported through a grant from the Rotary Club of Newcastle West. Rotary President David Gregory said: “The Rotary Club are delighted to support the students with this effort to promote public health in Uganda through supporting young professionals and students gain an understanding of other communities.

“We are hoping to repeat this next year following a successful fundraising event in April where we raised over £2,000.”

The event was held in the Great Hall at Northumbria University. Barclays Bank also donated £1,000 to help fund future trips and the Geography Department paid for the bespoke Indian meal - a creation by the University’s Executive Chef Sean Wilkinson.

To find out more about studying Environmental Health or other Geography courses, register for Northumbria’s Open Days on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 June at www.northumbria.ac.uk/openday

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