We at IAHPC know that advocating for, and implementing, palliative care programs is challenging, uphill work. This is why we love to celebrate your successes and inspire our readers, who can learn from your experience.
This month, students at Central Michigan University are writing a grant proposal to extend palliative care services in Kiev, Ukraine.
Since 2012, students at the School of Health Sciences have been writing grant proposals for local non-profit groups as part of their course work. Initiated by Professor Lana Ivanitskaya, the grant-writing project has extended to both undergrad and Master’s programs.
Students communicate with clients to identify a project, justify its need, set objectives, build a budget, design a project evaluation, do research, and more. ‘The students take fluffy, story-based information and make a concise, clear picture,’ she says. Now, three classes write more than 10 proposals each year.
This is the first time they have moved beyond their state of Michigan.
Up to now, students have focused on local non-profits seeking amounts from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand (although one group’s proposal helped snare $50,000). Students’ proposals helped fund 12 community projects, and that success provoked Lana to widen her scope.
She set her sights on developing countries where a few hundred dollars can make a big difference, beginning with Ukraine, where need was evident. Students are writing a proposal to fund SVOI (‘Our’ in Ukrainian) a charitable non-profit organization that would use the grant to pay for:
‘Usually the grant proposals are pretty well done and fundable as students write them,’ says Lana. ‘We cover all the bases, to give the students practice; even if a funder doesn’t ask for a budget narrative, for instance, we provide one. The client can cut and paste as they wish.’
The most tricky task for students is identifying goals. ‘They tend to describe what they will do, the steps they will take to do the project,’ says Lana. ‘I say, “No, no, no!”’ Instead, they must focus on what will change for those served by the project, what effect the funding will have.
Health Administration and Health Sciences faculty speak multiple languages, including Russian, Greek and Kazakh. ‘We’ve found in-country volunteers who speak English and help us put together initial documentation, then we can smooth bumpy translating.’ Google Translate helps.
This may be only the start: Lana is eyeing IAHPC’s list of palliative care organizations in neighboring countries as future collaborators, including Armenia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.