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University of Iowa News Release

 

Outreach Africa Founders To Speak At UI April 25

Two founders of Outreach Africa will speak about their efforts to improve the lives of Tanzanians at noon Wednesday, April 25, in Room 200 of the University of Iowa Communications Center.

Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton started Outreach Africa, a non-profit program based in Union, Iowa, in 2004. They traveled to Tanzania with Doctors Without Borders to repair a hospital, and then decided to become more involved.

Their holistic efforts to help 20,000 people in five villages in the Singida region of Tanzania began with an intention to educate the youth. But they soon discovered the damaging effects of starvation, brought on by a long period of drought in the region. "We wanted to educate them, but you can't educate thirsty, sick, hungry children," Hamilton said.

Outreach Africa teamed up with Kids Against Hunger, a program that distributes packets of food designed by internationally known nutritionists. Each packet restores valuable nutrients to the body through rice, soybeans, dried vegetables and chicken broth. Packets are distributed to schools and to people suffering from HIV, AIDS or leprosy. At the Gunda Secondary School, students are promised a packet of food if they attend class for the day.

While supplying food, Outreach Africa also set out to provide clean, drinkable water. Since 2004, the organization has brought a dozen water development personnel to Tanzania. They repaired 60 broken wells and installed a solar-powered water pump at the Gunda Secondary School.

Once the nutritional needs of the children of the Singida region were met, Outreach Africa could focus on building a public school. Now, the school is complete and attended by 600 students. Future plans call for a new library and computer system, and a dormitory to house 120 girls.

Outreach Africa has brought 136 medical professionals to Tanzania to provide free, modern healthcare for the people of Singida. The organization instituted the Port-a-Doc initiative, which provides a Tanzanian doctor with a fully equipped Toyota pickup, allowing him to reach patients who live far away.

For more information on Outreach Africa, visit http://www.outreachafrica.org.

The talk is sponsored the WiderNet Project, a service organization based at the School of Library and Information Science in the UI Graduate College. Launched in 2000, WiderNet is dedicated to improving digital communications and reducing information poverty in developing countries. For more information on WiderNet, visit http://www.widernet.org.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Program: Amanda Kusek, akusek@widernet.org; Neena Stephen Neena@widernet.org; Media: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070, nicole-riehl@uiowa.edu; Writer: Amanda Kusek