Reflections from Former Intern and Current Board Member Stephanie

When I first found UVP from a Google search in 2010, I was exceptionally excited. After months of searching, I had found exactly the right organization for my undergraduate required overseas summer internship: an organization grounded in the realities of rural health and poverty, with Ugandan people at the center of its model. To prepare for the program, I made Lusoga language flash cards. I studied up on Uganda colonial history. I read local Ugandan news outlets. I subscribed to public health journals with Ugandan studies. I really, really nerded out.

But no amount of studying could have fully prepared me to witness the abject poverty and limited health care access that people in rural Uganda face every single day.

My summer as an intern with UVP was a life-educating event in humility, creativity, determination, and privilege. A lesson in humility learned from pumping water from the ground and carrying heavy water jugs with other young girls back to our village residence.

A lesson in creativity from using local materials like potato sacks to create costumes for community skits on HIV prevention.

A lesson in determination from the unbreakable spirit of women isolated from their communities after the stigma of childbirth-related fistula.

And a lesson in privilege from knowing and working alongside dedicated public health professional Ugandans.

What originally peaked my interest in UVP is also what has kept me working with the organization’s board for years. UVP puts Ugandans’ needs at the center, and leverages their resilience and expertise for improved public health impacts. The organization has a small and mighty power – ensuring every single dollar counts towards delivering last mile health services.

I celebrate UVP’s tremendous 20 years as an organization. My greatest hope is that it will continue to inspire generations of health and development professionals around the world, just as it has for me.