Posted by Carrie Condran LaBriola on Jan 20, 2020
Rotary Club of San Francisco members Dr. Lily Muldoon, Skip Brewster and Ryan Wilson celebrated World AIDS Day 2019 in Kenya with fellow Rotarians from Africa and the Rotary Club of Boulder Valley, CO. During the week-long trip (Nov. 26-Dec.2), the team recorded radio segments promoting health, development and Rotary that were broadcast on EK-FM, the only wind/solar-power radio station in East Africa, a project supported by a $5,000 grant from the Club in 2018. They also toured several Rotary agriculture, sanitation and water projects; met with local leaders and activists to exchange ideas; and helped with matching grant reporting.
The culmination of the trip was the 7th annual World AIDS Day Soccer Tournament and health fair on Dec. 1, 2019, which attracted thousands of local spectators to watch 42 teams from around Mfangano Island, Lake Victoria. Men’s, women’s and youth teams competed for cash prizes and soccer gear, as well as bragging rights, while bringing critical awareness to HIV and AIDS. 

In addition, the Rotary Club of Mbita-Mfangano Island partnered with the Kenya Ministry of Health and several health care providers to capitalize on the huge gathering to provide crucial health screenings and education. Altogether, 432 people were tested for HIV, 250 women and youth received reproductive health education, 458 people were screened for malnutrition, 243 people received clinical services and 33 women received cervical cancer screenings.
“It's an enriching experience to be able to travel and meet other Rotarians who are so culturally different,” Skip says.
Lily says she has several “bottom-line takeaways” from the trip, including that:
~ local Rotary Clubs and Rotary International are respected and seen as a positive catalyst for change, i.e., money well-spent;
~ rural Kenyans are responsive to a can-do approach and, importantly, want to stay and prosper in their villages;
~ rural Kenyans are forward-thinking, clever and see value in wellness education and organic farming techniques;
~ Mfangano Island is a petri dish for trying new wellness approaches that, once successful, could be expanded to other rural villages;
~ Mafangano Island is ripe for developing cottage industries to supplement the weakening fishing industry;
~ with the appeal of anything football-related, Rotary-sponsored football (soccer) tournaments in Kenya are a wonderful way to share wellness education with a broad spectrum of people;
~ Kenyans seem to be eager to receive well-vetted wellness knowledge, especially on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment; and,
~ once reliable WIFI reaches rural Kenya, opportunities in wellness education are boundless.
“We look forward to making World AIDS Day 2020 an even more spectacular and meaningful event,” Lily says. “Plans are underway.” Contact Lily if you are interested in information about this year’s trip.