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WPDI and the Starkey Hearing Foundation to Continue Bringing Together the Gift of Hearing in Northern Uganda

Determined to build on their successful campaigns to bring the gift of hearing to vulnerable communities in northern Uganda, WPDI and Starkey Hearing Foundation have just proudly renewed their partnership to strengthen Starkey’s Aftercare program, providing consultations, diagnoses and treatment on a wide range of ear-related issues.

Our partnership, one of the earliest in the history of WPDI, is unique and based on a collaborative approach. Starkey Hearing Foundation, which aims to offer patients the gift of hearing through donated hearing aids and post-treatment services, had been working for years in northern Uganda, a post-conflict area where needs are immense. The breakthrough came when our flagship Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN) program, which Starkey Hearing Foundation had been supporting from its earliest stages, reached its maturity plateau. Indeed, the YPN is a youth leadership and partnership program through which we empower young people to become peacebuilders and entrepreneurs in their communities and through which also we maintain a network of Community Learning Centers. It was not long before we realized that these assets could be leveraged by Starkey Hearing Foundation, namely an available aid force and permanent premises that local community members can easily identify.

To materialize this ambition, Starkey took WPDI staff and youth through the WFA® Community -Based Hearing Healthcare Training Program so they can become Aftercare Service Providers and provide patients with services ranging from registration for otoscopy to taking earmold impressions. As for the CLCs, we decided to use them as staging locations for this important work. WPDI’s CLC in Gulu, for example, hosts an established Aftercare service center that offers counseling, battery replacements for hearing aids and free repair services. After experiencing tremendous success in Gulu, the program expanded to the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, where we operate out from a dedicated local CLC.

Renewing the partnership is all the more relevant that our teams had recently come up with groundbreaking innovations to increase the reach of the program and the number of patients registered and treated. To reach more rural populations, they started holding mobile “ear camps,” the first six of which – conducted throughout June of this year – registered 247 people and reached 630 in total.

In the coming year, we plan to reinforce our already existing programs and expand outreach even further, to the eight districts and 30 counties of the Acholi sub-region in northern Uganda.