Kiwanis arrives in Senegal

Sep 26, 2016
The Kiwanis delegation arrived in Senegal over the weekend. The group will observe UNICEF activities related to health care this week, including maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination sustainability. Prior to the trip we caught up with Alyson Gerwe, member of the Cincinnati, Ohio, Kiwanis Club. Read what she had to say before setting off to Western Africa.

What excites you most about the trip to Senegal?
This trip is an amazing experience to connect with those we are serving. To see the positive changes we are making in the lives of these women and their children is a wonderful opportunity to enhance our passion for The Eliminate Project. I am truly looking forward to the relationships we will forge with these strong, caring mothers and their families.

What do you hope to bring back?
I hope to bring back evidence of the good we are doing through The Eliminate Project. This trip will give us a chance to connect with those we are serving and bring back their stories to our local Kiwanis community.

Why are you motivated to protect moms and babies from maternal and neonatal tetanus?
We are so blessed in the United States in that we have access to basic healthcare and our government is able to provide vaccination education for all mothers. These women do not have the same quick access or basic healthcare. Every child deserves life and these mothers deserve to have hope for their children's future. We are working together to vaccinate women and children. But what we are really doing is creating a better tomorrow for the communities we serve. To be able to save their lives so easily and for so little money and yet choose to do nothing is unthinkable.

What does The Eliminate Project mean to Kiwanis?
The beauty of Kiwanis is that individuals team up to create a positive change in their communities—doing more good than one can do alone. But it is so easy for Kiwanians to forget they are a part of a global community of servant leaders. The Eliminate Project is so large that it can only be accomplished as a team. In joining together for this common cause, Kiwanians are reminded just how much we can accomplish when we work together as a global team. To be able to say we eliminated a terrible, preventable disease like maternal and neonatal tetanus is both awe-inspiring and confidence bolstering.

What is a fun fact that you would like people to know about you?
Moss doesn't grow on my feet! My husband and I have moved 7 times in the 11 years we have been married and have visited 11 countries together. Our children (Ava, age 10, and Alex, age 8) have been to 7 of those countries with us. I am passionate about travel and adventure!

We will share the group’s Senegal stories and photos on our blog and Facebook. Check in for updates!