Thursday, April 5, 2012

Peer-to-Peer Reproductive Health Workshop with Planned Parenthood & Clinic Partners

Collaboration is Key

March was an incredibly productive month for SFF and facilitating collaboration among our 130+ partners continues to be one of the most rewarding aspects of our work. 

During my site visits in March, I traveled to Lake Elementaita in Kenya, a soda lake flocked with flamingoes and the location for our Peer-to-Peer Reproductive Health workshop with Planned Parenthood. The goal of this workshop was to link Planned Parenthood to our grassroots clinic partners – Amani Global Works, Lwala Community Alliance, Soft Power Health, Village Health Works, Village Hopecore, FAME, Shining Hope for Communities, Mpoma AIDS Initiative and the Kyetume Clinic.

Planned Parenthood did an excellent job facilitating the “Trainer of Trainers” workshop, working alongside two representatives from each NGO interested in training youth to provide sexual and reproductive education to their peers. Some topics addressed were:
  •  Knowledge (or lack of) that young people have about reproduction, contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV and AIDS
  • Utilizing each organization’s resources to implement a Youth Peer Provider (YPP) program
  • Mobilizing the community to support a YPP program & partnering with a health care facility
We also worked together to create a list of “haves” and “needs” between partners, with the hope that at some point we can exchange resources to help achieve all of our goals effectively. We’re looking forward to more workshops with our partners on-the-ground and the creation of a collaborative SFF Health Network for increased efficiency among rural health clinics in Africa.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Skoll World Forum 2012

“In 40 years there will be more people in Africa than in Europe and the Americas…the future depends on when Africa will get out of poverty and have 2-child families.”
- Hans Rosling (Co-Founder of the Gapminder Foundation)

Andy, Antoine and I traveled to Oxford, England last week for the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. We thought Skoll 2011 was great, but this year it was unbelievable. In addition to catching up with many partners and friends and forging some powerful new friendships, we were blown away by Hans Rosling's presentation during the Opening Plenary. Using toilet paper roles and computer graphic animations (his "beloved bubble graphs"), Rosling described population change among various countries. He highlighted that even if Africa has 2 children per woman today, the population will still double. Generations of smaller families are crucial to curbing population growth. You can view Rosling's full presentation here (skip to 23:00 mins).

Check out Rosling's organization, Gapminder, and the database of statistics on world trends and indicators. We find particularly interesting the visuals below, which compare fertility rates to life expectancy over the past 200 years. Notice how Sub Saharan African countries tend to lag behind the rest of the world's progression to smaller families and longer lives.

Monday, March 26, 2012

CGI Winter 2012

The 2012 CGI Winter Meeting

The SFF team made a trip to the Clinton Global Initiative last week, this time for the 2012 Winter Meeting in New York City. CGI is an important conference for us and was especially valuable during the founding of SFF. We attend each year to hear from President Bill Clinton and other speakers regarding the latest trends in the developing world. Additionally, the conferences are a great opportunity to network with other people who share the same goal of eradicating poverty and improving the lives of the world’s poorest billion.

The conference began with the Partnering for Impact Plenary Session where we heard speakers Ashley Judd, the Lead Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, the SVP of Global Health and Agriculture Policy at PepsiCo and the President of the Gap Foundation talk about the importance of cross-sector partnerships. Later, we attended the Global Health Breakout Meeting. It was great to catch up with some of our existing partners, like Raj of Tiyatien Health, Chuck Slaughter of Living Goods, Cassia Holstein of Partners in Health, actor Jeffrey Wright of the Taia Peace Foundation and Zainab Salbi of Women for Women.

Our discussion was focused on finding potential solutions to bring healthcare to rural, poor communities. We discussed ways to develop a database or system of best practices for training community health workers so that the many NGOs doing work in Africa have a framework to set up their programs and ways to make sure that they aren’t conflicting with others working in the area.

CGI is always a pleasure. We were impressed by the great facility, attendance and interesting speakers. We are always amazed by President Clinton’s knowledge and insight (and how good he looks!). He spent quite a bit of time referring to how media can allow a small group of individuals to change the world, for better or for worse.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shining Hope for Communities

In December, we traveled to Kibera, Kenya, the largest slum in Africa where the average life expectancy is 30 years of age and the majority of young girls do not attend school. After bumping into our friend Salim Mohamed of Ashoka and formerly Carolina for Kibera, we met with Xiaoxi Tu of Shining Hope for Communities, an organization that provides support to the Kibera community through tuition-free schools for girls, a health clinic and a community center. We were very impressed by Shining Hope’s Marcus Garvey Knowledge Centre, which is fully equipped with computers and books, and the Kibera School for Girls – a vibrant place for learning and youth empowerment. It’s incredible what they are doing in a very difficult area to operate. 

Thanks for the tour Shining Hope, and for breathing life into this community!

"We are in this together, and we have an obligation 
to raise our voices and work towards the day that a 
mother survives childbirth, not based on where she's from, 
but based on access to quality healthcare."

- Barbara Bush, 
SFF Board Member & CEO and Co-Founder of Global Health Corps

Monday, February 20, 2012

Development is a learning curve: you try things, you make informed decisions, you take sensible risks and sometimes, the unexpected happens. More insight from our Managing Director in this blog from Invisible Children. Take a look at IC's Legacy Scholarship Program too! 

On Common Sense, Taking Risks and Lessons Learned

A funder’s perspective on development in Africa
SFF partner, Soft Power Health, has sold over 50,000 mosquito nets in Uganda. In this interview from Mezimbite Magazine, Soft Power Health's Founder, Dr. Jessie Stone answers the question,

Dr. Jesse Stone

FACE AIDS is creating young activists with their Practical Empowerment project - one project being the Pediatric Malnutrition initiative, led by 4 chapters of Rwandan youth. 26 health training sessions have been held, 168 gardens prepared and hundreds benefitting from these gardens. Nice work FACE AIDS! 

Learn more about how they continue to build a movement of young leaders here. 
Congratulations to Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg of Akili Dada, for being honored by the Obama administration as a champion of change! You can read more about this great accomplishment here. Take a look at the scholars and future role models of Akili Dada below!

SFF partner, Beads for Education, planting the seeds of a new secondary school!