With every success an opportunity: Dr. Robert Kalyesubula's story

With every success comes another opportunity. That’s what Dr. Robert Kalyesubula discovered after the Connecting for Change dialogue at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit.

Dr. Robert attending Connecting for ChangeKalyesubula attended Connecting for Change – an event that brought over 120 business, social sector, and philanthropic leaders together – looking to help some of the 30 million people in his native country Uganda who badly need medical services.

Kalyesubula, founder of community based organization African Community Center for Social Sustainability (ACCESS), operates a medical clinic in Uganda that has adequate human resources  – they have trained over 60 community nurses – yet it lacks many necessary medical supplies. He took this problem to Connecting for Change looking for a solution.

“It was really a wonderful experience,” Kalyesubula says of the atmosphere at the dialogue. “It didn’t matter if you were from Africa or where you were from, you could walk right over to the director of a company, who you normally have to wait 6 months to get an opportunity to speak with, and you could have a conversation.”

One of the people that Kalyesubula met was Janice Levine of MedWish International. MedWish donates medical supplies to individuals and organizations dedicated to providing care that directly lessens the burden of suffering people in under served areas.

Through Kalyesubula’s conversations with Levine, MedWish agreed to support his clinic by donating equipment allowing them to carry out surgeries and to help diagnose common and complicated diseases.

The good news: Dr. Kalyesubula now had access to essential medical equipment. The bad news: the equipment was in North America. A shipping container large enough to fit the medical equipment would cost $35,000 to ship to Uganda. It was problematic to say the least.

However, Kalyesubula and the Connecting for Change team didn’t give up hope. They turned to LinkedIn and its 55 million strong community for help.

They submitted an open call to the people of LinkedIn – a site that bills itself as a network of experienced professionals from around the world – looking for solutions to the prohibitive shipping costs.

Kalyesubula was blown away by the response.

“When we put this question out, no one knew if anyone was going to respond,” he says. “But at one point, I actually couldn’t keep up with all of the responses because there were so many people that were writing, supporting, directing people to me and we made a lot of connections.”

Kalyesubula has yet to secure transportation for the equipment, but he is encouraged by all of the promising leads that have come from Connecting for Change’s very first LinkedIn campaign.

“It was wonderful to see all of these genuine people and their responses,” he says. “And some people have even gone beyond moving medical equipment. They’re looking at ways of coming to Uganda and providing medical care themselves.”

Stay tuned for more Connecting for Change projects aimed at bringing people together to solve some of the most pressing issues of our times.

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