OHR Community Research Department

The OHR Community Research Department strives to incorporate a rigorous understanding of issues facing the Mfangano community and scientific evaluation of OHR’s innovative programming. We view service as a critical component to research. Our department aims for research to be informed by and to shape OHR’s activities. As OHR continues to expand, research remains an important aspect of planning for and assessing program efficacy, effectiveness, and scalability. As a research department based within a community center, community participation and capacity building are paramount to our research efforts.

Most recently, our research department has launched an evaluation of the Health Navigation Program and its impact on maternal and neonatal health. In addition, we are working on data analysis from the Kanyakla Study, with the hope that findings will inform future programming at the EK Center.

Mfangano Community Health Field Station

In 2017, OHR developed a community-rooted enterprise called the Mfangano Community Health Field Station, launched in collaboration between the University of Minnesota, Maseno University, and the Organic Health Response (OHR) of Mfangano Island in Kenya. The Field Station is hosted at within the research department at the Ekialo Kiona Center (EK). 

Current Research

MOMENTUM Study (Monitoring Maternal Emergency Navigation and Triage on Mfangano)

Kanyakla Expansion Study

Previous Research at Organic Health Response

Research efforts at OHR began in 2010 when researchers from the University of California Berkeley worked with community health workers, founding research staff, and Ekialo Kiona Center Executive Director Richard Magerenge to conduct a formative survey and series of focus groups on Mfangano health and demographics, with a particular focus on HIV. In 2011, the Mfangano Island Healthy Networks Impact Study (MIHNIS) was launched to evaluate the impact of the Mfangano Health Net Program.

In 2012, the OHR Research Department was formed to house the on-going MIHNIS study in addition to two new studies. The Healthy Networks Water Treatment (HNWT) study evaluated the impact of the Mfangano Health Net model in facilitating sustained household water treatment practices. The Research on Environmental and Community Health (RECH) study examined links between the changes within the Lake Victoria fisheries and the impact on household fishery access, livelihoods, and child health.

Since 2012, OHR’s research department has also served as GloCal field station and hosted over a dozen researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco, Harvard University, Columbia University, University of Minnesota, and the University of Colorado. Working on environmental science, public health, medicine and engineering, these researchers have contributed to a range of projects that inform OHR programming. Our Publications page features the results of this work, and more information about our previous studies can be accessed by the links below.

Mfangano Island Healthy Networks Impact (MIHNIS)
Evaluates the impact of the Mfangano Health Net Program. This study began in 2011 and continued through 2013. On-going data analysis has informed the current Kanyakla Study.

Healthy Networks Water Treatment (HNWT)
Evaluates the impact of the Mfangano Health Net model in facilitating sustained household water treatment practices. This study was carried out in 2013.

Research on Environmental & Community Health (RECH)
Examines the link between changes within the Lake Victoria fisheries and the impact on household fishery access, livelihoods, and child health. This study took place in 2012-2015 and data analysis is on-going.

Nutrition Embedding Evaluation Programme (NEEP) Study 
Evaluates our pilot Kanyakla nutrition programming, which included curriculum sessions and food security planning with the Mfangano East Kanyakala groups.