"GROW is when the GlobeMed mission becomes human. It is when "students" becomes replaced with your names, "communities" with your partner, and your MOU becomes real." -Maya Cohen, Executive Director, GlobeMed
Over the weekend of February 22-23rd, Ilkania and I attended the 2014 GROW Institute in Chicago, Illinois. It was a weekend of training, inspiration, GlobeMed love, and cold -- that's for sure!
The weekend kicked-off with introductory remarks from the Director of Partnerships, Alyssa Smaldino, and the Executive Director, Maya Cohen, each speaking about their past experiences as GROW interns in Rwanda and Uganda, respectively. Hearing each of these inspirational women reflect fondly on their time as interns and with such passion about the GlobeMed network (all while being in a room with over a hundred other bright-eyed GROW interns, mind you) sent a shot of adrenaline throughout me. Achieving social justice and improving global health are daunting tasks -- it is too easy to feel inadequate or become inactive in the mission for fear of criticism or failure or because the news keeps telling you how bad of a place the world is. But something Maya said resonated with me. She said: "GROW is when the GlobeMed mission becomes human. It is when "students" becomes replaced with your names, "communities" with your partner, and your MOU becomes real." Maya's positive outlook and sincere investment in achieving health care equality was genuinely touching and moving-- I carried this excitement and energy with me throughout the rest of the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday consisted of various workshop activities and small-group breakouts focused on creating Partnership Action Frameworks, common goal agendas, and Monitoring and Evaluating techniques.
One of the main highlights of the weekend was the photo challenge on Saturday night. Led by the wonderful Caroline Nguyen from the National Office, the Humans of Chicago challenge sought to teach GROW interns how to take ethical, aesthetic photos by breaking us up into teams of five, sending us into the city, and giving us two hours to capture a prize-winning photo and caption.
As for the winner of the 2014 Human of Chicago challenge... Team #1! Each member of the winning team received $20 for their respective partner organizations, which means that GlobeMed at Brown received $20 for our partner, U-Tena, in Nairobi! (Check out the winning photo and caption below!)
The weekend wrapped up with an inspiring talk on fostering inclusive teams by Dominique Hazzard, the new Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator. Many fellow GlobeMed peers commented on the diversity present in the room, with one student, Breanna Wilkerson from Spelman College, calling the space "revolutionary." After reflecting on my time in the GlobeMed network, I have to agree with Breanna. The 2014 GROW Institute was, hands-down, the most revolutionary, inspiring, and diverse space that I have been in with fellow GlobeMed peers. I am so blessed to be a part of this network and cannot wait to see where the next few years bring us!
"I talk to cab drivers from Africa - Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya - they tell me that I'm right, that they hate this city too but they can't say anything because they're immigrants."
The MOST GlobeMed love,