Mfangano Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya

Today, Mfangano Island has one of the most HIV-impacted populations on the planet, with 30% of the population infected with HIV, five times more than Kenya’s HIV prevalence rate.


Mfangano Island is home to 26,000 people. As one of Lake Victoria’s largest islands, it lies in the boundary waters of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Most residents are descendants of the Abakunta people, who sailed across the lake over 15 generations ago. Their unique culture has endured: islanders primarily speak Suba—an endangered Bantu language that is only found on these remote shores of Lake Victoria. 

Many still rely on fishing and subsistence farming to sustain their way of life. However, the island’s geographic isolation makes it difficult to access running water and electricity. Over the last 50 years, the people of Mfangano have experienced a series of devastating events that has left their health, land, and culture in a state of disease and
destruction.

Organic Health Response believes that with the right resources, research and activism, Mfangano Island has the potential to overcome its unique health and environmental challenges, while reviving the rich social fabric of Suba communities. Rather than casting our nets wide, Organic Health Response is committed to deepening its impact on the island through micro-level initiatives.