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University of Iowa News Release

 

May 6, 2009

Outreach Africa founders to speak at UI May 8

Two Iowans who founded a nonprofit that has improved the lives of thousands of Tanzanians will speak at noon Friday, May 8, in Room 200 of the University of Iowa Communications Center.

Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton started Outreach Africa, a nonprofit 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 focused on building a public school. Now, the school is complete and attended by 800 students. Most recently they installed a new library and computer system, and a dormitory to house 120 girls. This summer, they will install an eGranary Digital Library, an "Internet in a Box" invented at the UI.

Outreach Africa has arranged for over 150 medical professionals to visit 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 clinic on a 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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Cliff Missen, WiderNet Project, 319-335-2200, missenc@widernet.org; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070, nicole-riehl@uiowa.edu