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uplifting a community while developing Professional identity.

While the benefits of volunteering for students are immeasurable, encouraging university students to help make a difference in their respective communities by participating in volunteer programs presents its challenges. One of the most common challenges include a lack of motivation, often a result of inadequate financial incentives. To ensure volunteers increase their efforts in coping with stressful working environments and more importantly, coping with the tasks assigned to them, CenRID provides its volunteers with attractive financial packages, including paid transportation, food, and accommodation, in addition to competitive weekly or bi-weekly stipends.

Miria Nakitto participated in CenRID's recently concluded BUGEP Project. "December 2022 will mark the end of my MPH Degree. A two-year course that I have greatly fallen in love with over time. During the end of year one break, I received an awesome opportunity to volunteer for CenRID. Excited about the news, I packed my bags immediately and made my way to CenRID's Country Office in Jinja District, where I was subsequently briefed about the project in Buvuma District"

Miria was one of the facilitators that conducted the risk assessment and reduction planning among the typical sexual partners (TSPs) of adolescent girls, which sought to identify those TSPs at risk, provide recommendations for HIV and other STDs prevention, and establish risk reduction strategies, among others. Miria also participated in the community-based GBV workshops aimed at bridging the knowledge gaps and strengthening norms that eliminate GBV, reframe any misconceptions relating to the drivers of GBV, and help the communities develop a robust long-term strategy to tackle the root causes of violence, protect the rights of women and girls, and promote a strong coalition against GBV movement in the district. This unique opportunity enabled Miria to practice and develop important professional attributes, including leadership, problem-solving, time management, and a host of others while gaining real-world experience.
"The volunteer opportunity with CenRID refined my social and communication skills, and I have learned how to interact in a professional setting. This has greatly impacted my career in the way that I am now more open to learning and unlearning, an attribute that has helped motivate my team, ultimately, making me a better leader in my current role as the Head of Production at JMS.

Miria's interest in public health is motivated by her long-term goal to help improve access to medicine in vulnerable and impoverished communities, which is one of the most pressing social issues of our time.

"My involvement in the BUGEP Project cemented my passion for public health and re-energized the zeal to reach out and serve my community through ongoing public health community engagements. It has also birthed my present volunteer role in extending pharmaceutical care to homeless people"

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