African Studies Alumni Wins Rising Star Award

In August, 2018, the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies announced the winners of their Rising Star and Distinguished Alumni awards. Among them is African Studies alumni, Kevin Gibbons.

The Nelson Institute Rising Star Alumni Award recognizes the accomplishments of alumni who are making a significant difference in the world soon after graduation and who have attained a notable degree of success or impact through their professional accomplishments and/or community service.

As the co-founder and Executive Director of Health Access Connect in Kampala, Uganda, Kevin Gibbons works to provide residents of remote villages with access to health services, such as anti-retroviral treatment, perinatal services, malaria treatment, child checkups and more. Launched in 2014, Health Access Connect is the culmination of Gibbons’ education and determination. A member of the Peace Corps, Philippines for three years and a dedicated student at the Nelson Institute, Gibbons has spent much of his life seeking out ways to solve challenges through service, innovation and collaboration. In fact, while working on his master’s degree, Gibbons traveled to rural fishing villages on Lake Victoria in Uganda to learn more about how food insecurity and livelihoods were impacted by fisheries governance. While there, he listened to people in remote areas describe the challenges they faced in terms of health and environment. There were free life-saving health services available at the health facilities, but people could not reach them. Determined to create a solution, Gibbons started Health Access Connect, which helps Ugandan health workers to serve over 13,000 patients per year. Of his work, Gibbons says, “I see my life as one of service to find long-term solutions to connect people with resources. The world is rich, and service helps distribute that wealth.”

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To read a previous interview of Gibbons with the African Studies Program, click here.