Bachelors of Environmental Health Sciences students are finalists in international writing competition in South Korea

A team of four Bachelors of Environmental Health Sciences (BEHS) year one students from Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) represented the university and Uganda at large in the final round of the 2016 International Girls Health Student Writing Competition in Seoul, South Korea from 7th to 8th June 2016. The students are: Kizza Frank Gramsen, Lubega Grace Biyinzika, Gonza Joviah and Wagaba Brenda, and were among only 4 teams from Africa that reached this final round of the competition. 

Left to right: Gonza Joviah, Lubega Grace Biyinzika, Kizza Frank Gramsen and Wagaba Brenda at the 2016 International Girls Health Student Writing Competition in Seoul, South Korea.

The competition was organized by Ewha Womens University, Seoul, South Korea and attracted contestant student teams from all over the world who wrote essays about the challenges girls in developing countries face and proposed innovative solutions to address the challenges.

The BEHS team, who were mentored by Dr. David Musoke and Mr. Rawlance Ndejjo from the Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health at MakSPH, wrote a paper entitled Sexual and Reproductive Health challenges faced by girls in Uganda which highlighted the major challenges girls in Uganda face including teenage pregnancies, early marriages, poverty and lack of menstrual hygiene facilities in schools among others to which they proposed solutions.

Twenty-seven (27) teams from 14 mostly developing countries that had successfully passed through the early stages of the competition participated in the final competition round in South Korea. The teams made presentations to a panel of judges who then selected winning teams, whose ideas would be funded by the competition organizers.

Lubega Grace Biyinzika making a presentation on behalf of the BEHS team during the competition.

The 2016 International Girls Health Student Writing competition participants and judges after the competition.

All participating teams also attended the 2016 International Conference on Girls Health held on 8th June 2016 whose theme was Better Life for Girls. The conference included key note addresses by distinguished speakers, and several presentations by researchers and students about girls health after which the winning teams of the competition were awarded their prizes. The 2016 winner of the grand prize was Ma Ivy Abella C Funtalba from Philippines who wrote a paper titled its a post Girl Thing: Menstrual Health Management in Evacuation centers in Sorsogon, Philippines.

The 2016 International Conference on GirlsHealth participants and officials on the conference day.

Following the award ceremony, all participants of the 2016 International Girls Health Students Writing competition recited the global declaration for Girls for Girls while wearing their traditional costumes which was then followed by the unveiling of the official emblem inscribed with the name of the initiative, ‘Girls for Girls.

What the BEHS students said:

Participating in the competition was such an amazing and memorable experience for me as I got to learn and share a lot in addition to making new friends. My appreciation goes to my team members for their hard work and commitment, and our lecturers Dr. David Musoke and Mr. Rawlance Ndejjo who supported and mentored us through the process. Kizza Frank Gramsen

 “I cannot believe that an eight PowerPoint slide presentation took us to Seoul.” Lubega Grace Biyinzika

“The trip was amazing! It gave me a broad perspective on the issues related to the girl child and I was also able to make many new friends. The thirteen hours journey was really worth it.” Wagaba Brenda 

“I am so proud that our efforts really paid off. I am so grateful to God, my team mates, lecturers and everyone else that helped me accomplish this. It was indeed the best experience ever.” Gonza Joviah


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