WHE is a grassroots community effort, which raises awareness and funds on campus at Western University to support the community development efforts of interns in Africa. The program's steering committee has established collaboration with the following partners:
Kivulini Women's Rights Organization (KWRO):
Is a grassroots community in Mwanza, Tanzania that works directly from the WHE initiatives. Kivulini, a registered NGO, addresses the root causes of domestic violence by working closely with community members and leaders to change attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate violence against women.
National Institute for Medical Research, Tanzania:
The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is an autonomous public institution of the Tanzania Ministry of Health, established by Parliamentary act and has developed The Tanzania Medical Journal. NIMR supports TWG by providing the probiotic culture weekly, checking quality control, and engaging in research related to probiotics.
St. Augustine's University (SAUT) among other things, aims to be a centre of excellence by providing high quality education, research and public service. SAUT is concerned with the holistic development of the person by providing sound knowledge, higher analytical ability, and commitment to generous service to humankind. SAUT provides administrative support to WHE and matches Western student interns with their own students for an international learning experience. At the same time they support the TWG women's group and will conduct health benefits research with the program.
The City of Mwanza mission statement: To provide services that meet the requirements of females, males and children by using the available resources and taking into account environmental issues and promoting good governance through community participation. The city provides guidance with respect to economic development and available resources.
Tukwamuane Women's Group (TWG):
Twelve women from the Mwanza community formed this group in 2004 and are the main producers and recipients of the probiotic yogurt. Since WHE's inception, they have worked alongside UWO student interns to help develop their project further. In 2008, TWG became a licensed NGO and has become a pillar in the Mwanza community providing yoghurt free of charge to more than 150 people living with AIDS.
The Orande Women's Group and the Nyanam Women's Group are responsible for the production and sales of the probiotic yogurt, as well as marketing and education about the health benefits. The Baraka Women's Group and the Besigre Women's Group are responsible for the production of the probiotic yoghurt in Kabondo together with marketing, sales, and health benefits education.
Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) is a centre of excellence in the promotion of quality health. Their mission is to improve on the quality of health and human life through research. KEMRI provides research expertise and lab support to the Western Heads East program in Oyugis and Kabondo.
Rachuonyo District Hospital is located in one of 12 districts in Nyanza Province and serves a population of 350,000 with a high disease burden. TB cases increase annually, 80% of TB cases are co-infected with HIV, and the HIV infection rate is 25% in the area (The Power to End Hunger and Poverty, UK Parliamentary Delegation, 2005).
Rachuonyo District Hospital and Western faculty are co-investigators on a research study of the program funded by World Bank. The hospital also functions as a distribution site for the probiotic yoghurt and identification of candidates to participate in the World Bank study.
The Rachuonyo District Development Officer, Ministry of Health, ensures alignment between the program and local development priorities.
Brescia University College:
The researchers at Brescia University College, in collaboration with researchers at the Canadian R&D Centre for Probiotics at the Lawson Health Research Institute, have developed a new probiotic yoghurt which a survey showed to be comparable in taste and texture to commercial yogurt. It contains high levels of beneficial microorganisms. Nutrition interns do receive their training at Brescia University College.
Housing and Ancillary Services at Western University:
Initiated the Western Heads East program and continues to provide personnel, administrative leadership and resources to the project. The Housing department is committed to supporting student transition to university, leadership development and civic engagement to inspire leaders of tomorrow.
Lawson Health Research Institute: The Lawson Health Research Institute hosts a partnership of the Western Heads East (WHE) program and the probiotic research of the Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics. This research indicates that probiotics may reduce HIV infection in women and lower mortality and morbidity from diarrhea in children and patients with AIDS.
The University of Western Ontario is committed to research excellence and innovation, and the Western Heads East project is a direct result of that effort. Please visit our web site for more information on Western's research.
Western Heads East Fundraising and Education Committee:
Led by concerned and globally-minded leaders, this group of students works with WHE interns to promote awareness about the AIDS pandemic in Africa and conduct fundraising initiatives in the London and campus communities to support the program.
Partnering with Africa for health and sustainable development through probiotics.