Bitone Troup Semifinalist in Dell Competition

Wesleyan boasts yet another 2011 Dell Social Innovation Competition semifinalist. The group Bitone Troupe, led by Branco Sekalegga MA ’11, Allana Kembabazi ’11 and AhDream Smith ’12, will work with the Bitone Children’s Center in Kampala, Uganda this summer on a project titled “Enlightenment Uganda: Disease Control and Prevention.” The troupe, made up of young adult performers, represent the promise and potential of Uganda’s youth, 2.5 million of whom are orphans of HIV/AIDS, civil war and acute poverty.

According to the group’s project description, the lack of knowledge on disease control and prevention has negatively impacted Ugandan communities, mostly children and pregnant mothers –putting the country in an economic tragedy. Malaria, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and sanitation-related diseases have had severe and long-term impacts on the family and community structures, which previously nourished a highly-developed generational transfer of knowledge, resources and culture. Today, 11.5 percent of children below 5 years die of diarrhea diseases and 40 percent of students have malaria at any given time; malaria is a major cause of primary school absenteeism.

Bitone’s music draws crowds, provides entertainment, demonstrations, and aid in conveying messages.

For more information on the project, watch the video below:

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This is Wesleyan’s third 2011 Dell semifinalist recipient. The other recipients are Possibilities Pakistan and Brighter Dawns. Possibilities Pakistan extends free college counseling to all Pakistani students who aspire to attend international universities. Brighter Dawns: Clean Water for Humanity aims to alleviate poverty in slum conditions in Bangladesh.

The Dell Social Innovation Competition finalists and grand prize winner were announced in May.