Mission:

We strengthen the capability and confidence of Mfangano communities to protect their health, culture, and unique island ecosystem.

OHR represents a mission championed by a group of Kenyan organic farmers, health workers, and teachers on Mfangano Island, supported by a global network of international medical and graduate students, sustainable designers, and environmental activists. Through local and global partnerships, we work together to equip our rural villages with resources, training, and connections to respond “organically”—as unified communities—to the overwhelming socio-economic, epidemiological, and ecological challenges we face.

In the US, the Organic Health Response is 501c3 non-profit registered in Colorado. In Kenya, we are a certified “Community-Based Organization” (CBO) called the Ekialo Kiona Center.

Vision Statement:

A resilient Mfangano Island inspiring wellbeing and sustainability along the shores of Lake Victoria and beyond.

 

EK World AIDS Day Road Race, Dec 1, 2011

Methodology:

OHR is built on a unique collaborative system. Our programs are designed and implemented by Mfangano residents working in small teams with students and volunteers from around the world. We are supported by international universities, medical schools, and leading research centers, wireless IT innovators, environmental activists, and global health partners. Alongside these unique programs, OHR is coordinating a series of rigorous longitudinal studies designed to evaluate impact and translate data into action on an ongoing basis.

All OHR programs and research studies are coordinated under the umbrella of the “Ekialo Kiona Center.”  This unique solar-powered facility allows Mfangano residents to collaborate directly with colleagues around the world, host partners from numerous local and international organizations, and establish full ownership of all community-based initiatives.

At OHR, we don’t have an exit strategy. All OHR programs are built with eye on the distant horizon. We start slow, and grow slow, building resilience into our network each step of the way. Above all, we provide a critical space and capacity building for local residents to envision, design, and implement home-grown initiatives. These creative programs address not only immediate challenges, but seek to strengthen Lake Victoria communities for generations.

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Ethos:

OHR is rounded in the recognition that the health of human beings is fundamentally connected to the strength of their communities and the sustainability of their environments. We seek to augment community health by taking into consideration local experience, integrating new technologies and scientific evidence with the insight of indigenous knowledge.

We believe that diversity is our deepest strength. OHR is actively cultivating a diverse network of community programs. Through an integrated approach we’re tackling diseases, famine, deforestation, and unemployment. We’re building communication systems, small businesses, planting tree nurseries and growing fish farms. By sharing resources, training local staff, and attracting different types of partners, we strive to become increasingly sustainable and adaptive.

Now more than ever, we realize we are not alone out in the boundary waters of Africa’s largest freshwater lake.  We’re learning that we have friends and supporters around the world who are now learning about us for the first time.  We’re learning that the impact of all these creative, local programs may extend beyond far our remote shores.

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