In April 2021, we began laying the foundations for an International Service Learning (ISL) program. By the Fall semester of 2021, HUSM launched an ISL program for teaching reproductive health content online to elementary school students in the Korogocho informal settlement of Nairobi, Kenya. Through this course, HUSM students are exposed to materials and experiences supporting an understanding of community development, social justice, and many of the issues surrounding diversity, equality, and equity, with a particular emphasis on medical inequities. We have an eight-week program that runs through three cycles throughout the year. The program teaching content begins with an understanding of basic biology, sanitation and infection, and then transitions into materials covering puberty, reproductive systems, family planning, and sexual health. The program is specifically built to provide educational and developmental opportunities for all stakeholders, both in Japan and Kenya.
The current covid pandemic has limited our chances for travel and associated international work, but it has also thankfully focused us on the powerful potential of online international work and the scope and scalability that is possible through this medium.