The year 2011 was incredibly exciting for the Organic Health Response. Below are a number of activities that have been moving forward during the year. Thank you for your continued support as we grow as an organization!
CONSTRUCTION COMPLETE AT EKIALO KIONA CENTER
In Spring 2011, the Ekialo Kiona Sustainable Design Guild completed construction of the 10,000ft2 Ekialo Kiona Community Center at Kitawi Beach. Trained in lightweight Ferro-cement techniques, the crew built and roofed the east wing of the EK center, which now serve as confidential HIV counseling rooms. The Ekialo Kiona Center reached over 1,400 members, all of whom now know their HIV status. All HIV tested EK Members have free and unlimited access to the Cyber Lab, library, conference rooms, and the open-air amphitheater.
Ten sleek ultra-low power Inveneo computers reached the EK Center in July, along with upgraded networking and seminar equipment. With help from OHR IT Coordinator Brian Mattah, Mfangano residents have been learning typing, word processing, and Internet skills. The Ekialo Kiona Center is the only Internet facility or library on the island serving over 20,000 isolated Mfangano residents. Students, teachers, health workers, farmers, and fisherman from the community come here to research innovative ideas for sustainable health, fishing, agriculture and educational opportunities.
OHR & MCI ROLLOUT MFANGANO MICROCLINIC PILOT PROGRAM
After 3 years of productive collaboration, OHR has formalized our partnership with Micro clinic International (MCI) to implement an innovative social support pilot for the HIV-affected communities of Lake Victoria. With a newly hired & volunteer staff of 12, the team has successfully registered over 40 micro-clinic groups from the island to participate in a comprehensive training designed to empower them with the practical tools to address HIV/AIDS in their affected networks. The Mfangano Island Healthy Network Impact Study (MIHNIS) began in October 2011. This study will assess the impact of the novel Micro-Clinic program targeted at HIV-affected networks in Western Kenya. The MIHNIS will evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention for improving antiretroviral treatment adherence, HIV/AIDS disease trajectory, social support, and risk behaviors among people living with HIV/AIDS and their associated social support networks.
DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM INSTALLED ON EK ORGANIC FARM
In Fall 2011 a drip irrigation system – one of the first of its kind on Mfangano Island – was installed at the EK Farm. The new system, with drip lines and a new 3,000L water storage tank, is a vital step toward our goals of enhancing organic nutrition for EK members and promoting sustainable agriculture on the island.
SISTERHOOD EXCHANGE PROGRAM COMPLETES 6 SHIPMENTS OF CRAFTS TO U.S.
Meeting twice weekly at the EK Center, the men and women of the Sisterhood Exchange Program continued their handmade production of African aprons and jewelry. In 6 separate shipments, over 300 beautiful African aprons, handmade jewelry and paper products found new homes in Colorado, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The SEP also completed three additional training exchanges, returning home with newly acquired craft and business skills. The income earned through the Sisterhood supports many families on the island with food, school fees and healthcare, and empowers women with an independent income.
350 BICYCLES & 300 HELMETS EN ROUTE TO MFANGANO
In December, over 350 donated bicycles and 300 helmets from Colorado, USA were packed into a 40ft shipping container bound for Mfangano Island. These bicycles will stock EK’s new Bike Shop, providing EK Members bicycles at a special discounted price. With only one ring road encircling half the island, bicycles provide an easy and affordable transportation option for residents, improving access to healthcare and treatment facilities, schools and village centers. A big thanks to Bicycles for Humanity-Colorado and Greg Lynch.
OHR CELEBRATES 4th ANNUAL WORLD AIDS DAY 2011
On December 4th, in honor of World AIDS Day, Mfangano held the island’s first-ever road race! Over 50 residents registered to run, each learning their own HIV status before the kick-off. Men and women of all ages participated running a 5- or 10-km leg. OHR also kicked off the December “Get to Zero, Get to $5,000” campaign that highlighted four notable dates in honor of four groundbreaking OHR programs. Thank you to all who donated! Because of you we are now a step closer to zero AIDS-related deaths, zero new HIV-infections, and zero discrimination.
WEST COAST ROUNDTABLE A SUCCESS!
This spring, OHR members from across the U.S. convened in San Francisco for the first official OHR retreat. With over 15 volunteers present we spent the weekend 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.
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.”