This past week Lwala Community Alliance held our Community Innovation Summit – the culmination of a 6-week community-driven planning process. We believe that when communities lead, change is drastic and lasting, so we put community members at the forefront of program evaluation, design and implementation.
Community Evaluation – Leading up to our week of annual planning, teams dug into data to discern results and trends, consulted with the community, asking questions tied to our 2020 strategy outcomes. Observations on health-seeking behavior, clinical care, and economic and educational empowerment were recorded and interpreted.
Community Design – These observations guided the design process for future programming. Lwala staff in partnership with community members collaborated to develop new strategies for addressing the stickiest challenges. Lwala staff also conducted literature reviews of peer organizations and academic research to learn about best practices in the field. Based off of the community’s input and key research findings, teams presented their strategic program activities to leadership.
Community Innovation Throughout the week, leadership critiqued strategies, identifying ten overarching innovation questions. The process culminated on Friday with a Community Innovation Summit, where teams of Lwala staff, Community Health Workers, community members, and representatives from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education worked together to develop compelling solutions. All were encouraged to participate, synthesizing their strategies and presenting to other participants through artwork and skits.
Questions included: How might we make condoms more widely accessible? How might we achieve 100% WASH compliance? How might we reinvigorate community management committees?
Community Implementation – Moving forward, Lwala will continuously unlock the potential of community members by putting them at the forefront of driving solutions that work in the context that they understand so well. Building off their innovations, teams are designing future programs that shift implementation to the community level. At Lwala we seek to prove that this type of bottom-up innovation is uniquely positioned to effect systemic change.
Written by: Caroline Martin This summer, Caroline Martin, an M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management (IEPM) student at Vanderbilt University, spent nine weeks in Lwala. During this time, her work included conducting research – in conjunction with Lwala’s education team – to investigate the level and levers of effectiveness of e-readers in 13 public [...]
Written By: Mane Williams This summer, Mane Williams, a junior double majoring in biology (with a concentration in computational biology) and computer science and a member of GlobeMed at the University of Pennsylvania, spent four weeks in Lwala, along with fellow student Hannah Peifer. This GlobeMed chapter has partnered with Lwala Community Alliance since 2013 [...]
Written By: Hannah Peifer This summer, Hannah Peifer, a senior majoring in African Studies and Biology and member of GlobeMed at the University of Pennsylvania, spent four weeks in Lwala, along with fellow student Mane Williams. This GlobeMed chapter has partnered with Lwala Community Alliance since 2013 to fundraise and educate students about global health [...]
Written by: Managing Director JULIUS MBEYA Julius Mbeya is an advocate for social justice and believes that lasting change happens when communities develop and drive solutions to local problems. He believes that our lives are implicated in those of others and that the world would be a better place when justice and fairness reigns. He [...]
Our Executive Director Ash Rogers is an advocate for girls and women in the Lwala community, and today (May 28) on Menstrual Hygiene Day, we respond with a renewed sense of urgency to make sure girls and women around the world have access to feminine hygiene products. Upon meeting a a girl from East Africa [...]
Dear Friends, At the end of March, my wife Laura and I traveled to Lwala with our daughters – 3.5-year-old Ma’lee and 1.5-year-old Madeleine. I was very excited to show my two little girls the place where I grew up. During this most recent trip, Ma’lee got sick with diarrhea. She spent about a week [...]
In early February, more than 400 pupils and community members of rural North Kamagambo, Kenya, gathered at Kadianga Primary School for the launch of Lwala Community Alliance’s eReader pilot project. Among them was Fred Ochieng Ouko, a 12-year-old boy in Class 6 at Kadianga Primary. Fred is the sixth born in a family of nine [...]
MERCY OBIERO, one of our laboratory technicians, recently shared her perspective on the new laboratory. Working in the new laboratory is very exciting. The rooms are spacious and can accommodate the equipment and personnel for quite advanced testing and diagnosis. We have a phlebotomy area that is separate from the main lab, a microbiology section, [...]
Steve Okong’o, one of our public health officers, recently shared this story of transformation about a mother in the Lwala community… No pregnant mother wishes to pass HIV to her unborn child. Deborah Achieng, an unskilled farm worker and mother of four children who had little understanding of the virus, is no different. Deborah first [...]