The Sisterhood Exchange Program (SEP) members traveled to Eldoret this September to receive training from the Imani workshops. The training took place for two days where members were trained on making shopping bags, yoga bags, pajama suits, double sided apron, and school uniforms. There was also training on beaded jewelry, clay, cards, books, and picture frames. Much of the training emphasized quality control and members are now working to improve the quality of their products.The Ekialo Kiona Farming Department also traveled to Eldoret where they were motivated by the AMPATH farm and learned they will need a good irrigation system like drip irrigation which is used at most of the farms in Eldoret. They realized doing that will give them a green and healthy farm as water plays a big role in plant life.
Here's a quick glimpse of what we have been up to this summer so far!
OHR Hosts 2nd Team of UCSF Global HealthStudents!
Late June, Mfangano welcomed its second group of University of California, San Francisco students! This year's dynamic group of seven come ready to exercise their nursing, medical, social work, and pharmacy studies and will hit the ground running with projects in community health. The group will primarily focus on relaying last year’s research results back to the community.In partnership with the Kenya Medical Research Institute, OHR and UCSF designed the first community health baseline study for Mfangano East. During the summer of 2010, UCSF students trained and hired 9 local research staff to gather data from households in the community. The household survey assessed community health and demographics, including information on HIV/AIDS knowledge and stigma, income, food and water security, and social support.
The same local research staff will return this year to assist the UCSF students in organizing and conducting community focus groups. The focus groups will discuss OHR programming, specifically for the Micro-Clinic Project. Both staff and community members look forward to using this information to help shape the future of OHR and its programs and services.
VagaBead: Bead a Better World
On July 31st, 2011, OHR participated in a celebration of international crafts with VagaBead, a local Minneapolis bead and jewelry business. The event will featured OHR’s Sisterhood Exchange Program aprons and jewelry alongside other vendors, great eats and global beats. VagaBead founders Kara and Craig collect beads straight from the source, traveling to international markets, then making and selling jewelry at home. VagaBead generously offered to donate 5% of all their profits to the Organic Health Response.
OHR Welcomes New Co-Directors of Operations!
The Organic Health Response is thrilled to announce our first US-based staff, our new Co-Directors of Operations,Kelsi Hines and Annika Terrana! Kelsi and Annika are founding members of OHR, with extensive experience living and working within the communities of Mfangano Island, organizing HIV/AIDS awareness events and ecological sustainability activities, coordinating OHR's volunteer home-stay program, and developing the Ekialo Kiona Youth Radio Station. Kelsi and Annika will direct day-to-day US operations as OHR Founder, Chas Salmen, returns to Kenya for 12-months to implement the Mfangano Island Healthy Networks Pilot Program. Please feel free to touch base with Kelsi and Annika as your primary contact for any questions or ideas relating to ongoing OHR programs, fundraising, partnership opportunities, volunteer coordination, or media announcements: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. We look forward to exploring new directions under their creative leadership, and working together with the rest of the OHR team in Kenya and the US to continue our long-term vision, seeding health possibilities through community-rooted partnerships.
2011 has already been a year of many successes and progress and we are so thankful for all your support. Stay tuned for more updates.
Spring has been exciting time full of growth for the Organic Health Response. Here's a glimpse at what we have been up to so far in 2011:
OHR's First West Coast Roundtable a Success!
OHR members from across the U.S. recently convened in San Francisco for the first official OHR retreat. With over 15 volunteers present we spent the weekend getting to know one another, bringing the team up to speed on the many projects and programs, and dived into OHR’s first visioning session, led by our very own Hal Campbell! Overall, the retreat was a huge success. We emerged with a promising action plan for the upcoming year and OHR's new vision statement: “Seeding health possibilities through community-rooted partnerships.”
We look forward to having our Kenyan partners join us in our next great get together!
OHR Wins First Place in UC Berkeley's "Big Ideas" Competition
Selected from over 200 entries, OHR has won 1st place in UC Berkeley's "Big Ideas" Competition. The annual competition inspires innovative and high-impact student projects aimed at solving the world's most pressing problems. The aquaponics project aims to address "Big Ideas" category Global Poverty Alleviation by increasing food security in the Lake Victoria basin.
Headed by Matthew Tierney, the aquaponics project is a sustainable food production system that combines aquaculture, or fish farming, with vegetable and chicken farming. Not only could this system provide a more secure and nutritional diet, but aquaponics disincentives unnecessary slash and burn agriculture and overfishing in Lake Victoria, and allows fishermen to stay at home with their families. Stay tuned for details as we work to bring the aquaponics project to life!
Sisterhood Exchange Program Delivers 3 Apron Shipments to U.S.
All the way from Mfangano Island, a total of 3 large shipments of aprons and jewelry, sewn and beaded by the women of the Sisterhood Exchange Program, have successfully left port and arrived in Colorado, U.S.A! Since last summer the women of the SEP craft group have been hard at work fulfilling the numerous orders placed from across the U.S. Each apron ordered directly benefits the SEP women of Mfangano. Individual orders are currently taken on a rolling basis with shipment orders sent to the SEP quarterly.
Thank you for all your support in helping us work towards our mission. We'll continue to keep you updated on our work, events, and news.
On December 1st, 2010 the Ekialo Kiona Center hosted its 3rdannual World AIDS Day celebration. Hundreds of guests gathered to hear speakers from all over Mfangano, with special messages from the Mfangano East Chief (below), Mfangano’s public health official, representatives from FACES and the Ministry of Health, along with other area chiefs, clan elders, church elders and community members.
Youth representatives from various villages performed poems, songs and plays, informing and challenging their peers to avoid risky behavior, to stay informed and to know their status. Twenty people were tested and counseled, helping to bring the Ekialo Kiona Center’s total number of people tested to 776!
The 2010 Year in Review:
2010 was a monumental year for OHR, and we could not have done it without your support. Below are some of the year’s exciting milestones. We:
What a year! To date we have over 700 members, and EK is currently the only active stand-alone VCT center on Mfangano Island. Special thanks to all our partners and all of you for continuing to make our mission possible.
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Public Relations Coordinator, Organic Health Response