GIVE: Global Initiative for Village Empowerment
It was in recognition of the problems faced by many communities in Kenya that first brought together a group of UBC students to form GIVE in 2005. Their original mandate was to bring HIV/AIDS education to areas of Kenya with a high prevalence of HIV infection, believing that knowledge was the first step to combating this pandemic. Since 2005, GIVE has worked exclusively in the community of Kanyawegi that boarders Lake Victoria. It is estimated that up to 1 in 4 people there is infected with HIV, and we can attest to the fact that every community member has been affected by the devastating epidemic.
During the first trip in the summer of 2006, the HIV education curriculum taught in the schools was successful and well received, but it became apparent that the village needed far more than just HIV/AIDS education and school construction. It needed creative, culturally appropriate and sustainable forms of support that would continue to make a difference in the lives of the villagers.
GIVE has since worked with local and international partners to support and develop sustainable, community-endorsed, meaningful, grassroots projects that address the needs of Kanyawegi. By building capacity through education, health promotion, and economic initiatives, GIVE assists organizations and community members to create positive change in their own lives.
Student Biotechnology Network
The Student Biotechnology Network was started by three UBC PhD candidates in 2001 to allow life science students more exposure to industry opportunities. The SBN brings together students from a diverse range of departments and professional schools relating to biotechnology, including the life sciences, engineering, commerce and law. It provides an autonomous forum for students to discuss and explore interests and research opportunities in academia and in the corporate world of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. SBN will represent the interests of its members to the University and to those groups in the community that will determine the future of biotechnology in this region.
To learn more about the SBN, visit their website here.
To read about how the SBN formed, please see this 2003 article in Science.