Relentlessly devoted to farmer family health in 2015

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In 2015, the Nuru Healthcare team was relentlessly devoted to helping farmer families prevent illness and move toward better health through positive behavior change. Nuru Healthcare is operating in remote, rural communities in two countries: Kenya, where we have operated for several years, and Ethiopia, where our program has just gotten under way.

In Ethiopia, Nuru’s devotion to help farmer families was evidenced by the intentionality in our program design:

  1. We designed locally. For this brand new program, the local team took great care during the Program Planning Process to understand the communities’ needs and create solutions that not only will impact their lives positively, but which they will continue to own and develop for sustained impact over time.
  2. We created quality tools and systems. After program planning was finished, the team worked tirelessly to create curriculums, visual aids, procedures and systems to help the program run effectively, efficiently and with the quality the farmer families deserve.
  3. We engaged stakeholders and began community work. Working hand-in-hand with local community committees, the government health staff and the members of the Nuru co-ops, Nuru Healthcare began implementing the program in October.

In Kenya, Nuru’s devotion to help farmer families is best described in these three commitments:

  1. We committed to better ourselves. Under Victor Charo’s leadership, Nuru Kenya Healthcare used the 2014 impact assessment to make data-driven decisions that led to program improvements at all levels. The team went the extra kilometer to make sure that farmer families could overcome barriers to drinking safe water, washing hands with soap and appropriate latrine usage, among other behaviors. The team organized refresher trainings on evaluation focus areas and worked with the Ministry of Health to stop the spread of cholera. The team received feedback and ideas for improvements from the Nuru community health workers to help overcome common barriers and spread innovations like the tippy tap for hand washing.
  2. We committed to rigorous accountability. Nuru Kenya Healthcare also made great strides in improving data quality in 2015. The team designed new monitoring forms, supported and trained staff regarding the use of the forms,and had in-depth conversations on why the data collected at the ground level are so important. To better help Nuru farmers have healthier households, Nuru community health workers are now a part of setting targets in their teams and regularly meet to brainstorm ways of assisting families in overcoming challenges such as latrine collapse due to heavy rain. Keeping ourselves accountable was what allowed us to provide the best services to make a positive impact on the farmers’ lives.
  3. We created a new way forward. Because of our commitment to reaching families struggling with extreme poverty, Nuru Kenya Healthcare is reinventing itself before expanding into Kuria East so that it can be more sustainable, scalable and impactful. Nuru Kenya Healthcare is working on the architecture for a new graduation model that will keep the roots of what we learned about impact in Kuria West and graft on best practices that will help us bear more fruit more sustainably in new areas as Nuru Kenya grows. The graduation model will be incorporated with the new Nuru rural livelihoods co-ops in Kenya and adapt the Care Group model to support farmers in adopting healthy behaviors. At the same time, it will also support the sustainability of the system as a whole by building the capacity of government community health volunteers and their supervisors. This will allow Nuru Kenya Healthcare to address environmental health issues like diarrheal disease prevention more effectively as well as support a more sustainable graduation system.

Facing and overcoming challenges throughout the year has only made us more devoted to achieving our goal. We are learning to work together to improve ourselves and learn from those around us.

Now we look toward 2016 and wonder what word will describe us best in the year to come.

Agile? Committed? Persistent? Joyous?

Perhaps all of the above. Here’s to the New Year to come.

Athena Childs Fleisher

About Athena Childs Fleisher

Healthcare Program Strategic Advisor — Athena comes to Nuru after more than a decade in the fields of international public health, disaster risk reduction, microfinance, and social business creation. During graduate school, she earned both an MBA and MPH from the University of Arizona.

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