USAID Research & Innovation Fellowship Open!

USAID logo Applications are now open to receive a USAID Research & Innovation Fellowship through the Organic Health Response. This unique opportunity will allow an enthusiastic student to join our team and spend 6-12 months on Mfangano Island!

We offer a unique opportunity to participate in the evaluation and refinement of a nutrition intervention that uses a novel social network approach to treat whole social networks affected by maternal and child malnutrition. A fellow will participate in a case-control study on nutrition behaviors, nutrition knowledge assessment, and focus groups on pathways of effectiveness. Further, a fellow will contribute directly to the planned expansion of the intervention, providing recommendations for how best to scale, improve, and evaluate the program.

To learn more, please see the USAID Research & Innovation Fellowship website. Apply today!

RECH Shares Reports with Participants

The Research on Environmental and Community Health (RECH) Study has worked with over 300 households and Mfangano’s 19 Beach Management Units over the last two years to study how environmental change affects household health. The RECH study visited families throughout all of Mfangano. This effort paved the way for the Kanyakala expansion, which extends EK services to the entire island.

EK Community Mobilizer shares study report in local Beach Management Unit near the lake shore

EK Community Mobilizer shares study report in local Beach Management Unit near the lake shore

As the household survey portion of the RECH study winds to a close, we celebrated the success of the study with our research participants. As we thanked them for joining the research effort, we also shared individualized household data with each family. Each household received a report detailing their children’s growth, nutrition, and cognitive development over the past two years. And, children with faltering growth were referred to EK’s nutritional support program.

It was a pleasure to hear the ways our participant families appreciated the research study, and to see how big the participant children have become! We are tremendously grateful to our participant families, the BMU leaders who collect fishery data, and our wonderful EK staff for making this effort possible.


Nutrition Embedding Evaluation Program Grant

Organic Health Response is proud to have received a Nutrition Embedding Evaluation Program (NEEP) grant from PATH / DFID. The grant will allow us to evaluate our pilot kanyakala nutrition programming, which includes curriculum sessions and food security planning with the East kanyakala groups. Our evaluation will assess whether community members and Community Health Volunteers who participated in and led our nutrition kanyakala curriculum nutrition have more nutrition knowledge than people who did not participate. In addition, we will use data from the RECH research study to examine quantitative changes in nutrition behavior. Finally, we will use focus groups to understand the ways our program did and did not work and make improvements in our work on Mfangano.

Cooking demonstration at the Ekialo Kiona Center!

Cooking demonstration at the Ekialo Kiona Center!

Mala Masa kanyakla group in a community meeting

Mala Masa kanyakla group in a community meeting

Research Article: “Transactional fish-for-sex relationships amid declining fish access in Kenya”

Last week our work on fish-for-sex relationships and fish decline in Lake Victoria was published in the journal of World Development. A big thank you to Katie Fiorella, Dan Omollo and our entire community health research team for their hard work!

Transactional Fish-for-Sex Relationships Amid Declining Fish Access in Kenya.

Below is the citation:

Fiorella, K.J., Camlin, C.S., Salmen, C.R., Omondi, R. Hickey, M.D., Omollo, D.O., Milner, E.M., Bukusi, E.A., Fernald, L.C.H., Brashares, J.S. 2015. Transactional Fish-for-Sex Relationships Amid Declining Fish Access in Kenya. World Development. 74: 323-332.

Community Health Nurse – Opening

We are hiring a new Community Health Nurse!

The Ekialo Kiona Community Health Nurse will be a full-time position that will assist in the management and provision of community health services to the Mfangano Island population. Primary responsibilities will include program development, administrative management, and participation in a local strategy for reproductive health, emergency response and regional advocacy for improved health.

View the job posting by clicking below.

Community Health Nurse – Job Posting

It’s a Wrap! RECH Study Complete


The Research on Environmental and Community Health (RECH) Study is designed to understand the links between the health of people and their environment. Rech means ‘fish’ in Dholuo, and belies the focus of this research on the role that fish access plays in livelihoods, food security, and the health of young children on Mfangano.

To understand the links between fish catch and people’s health and well-being, we began working with over 300 households on Mfangano and 19 Beach Management Units in December 2012. For over two years since then, we visited these households every 3 months to learn about their fishing and farming activities, fish consumption, and growth and cognitive development of their young children. At the same time, we worked with local Beach Management Units (fishery co-managers and fish landing sites) to collect daily data on fish catch, prices, and fishing effort. We are excited to be completing the data collection for this study and tremendously grateful to the Mfangano families and fishers and OHR staff who supported this effort!

This research has already informed OHR’s programming, especially the Microclinics’ Nutrition Curriculum, support for malnutrition referrals and distribution of food supplements, and developing Food Security programming. We look forward to continuing to learn from this data and expanding our services on Mfangano – as well as contributing to our broader understanding of how environmental health affects human health, around Lake Victoria and beyond.

This research study is led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Please find out more about the initial results of our work on our Publications page and look for more results coming soon! Please feel free to be in touch with Katie Fiorella (kfiorella[@] for more information.

Executive Director Position Opening

Mfangano road BP

As our organization grows, we are excited to bring on a new Executive Director to lead our efforts. The Executive Director job description and application instructions are on the Executive Director Position page. We welcome any questions to Kelsi Hines at khines[@]

OHR is seeking a dynamic, enthusiastic Executive Director committed to our mission of strengthening the health, resilience and voice of the greater Mfangano Island Community. We seek an ED who is interested in growing with our organization as a leader in our future progress. The ideal candidate has an aligned vision with the organization’s mission and experience in international development, operational and program management, and fundraising skills to support the organization’s expanding impact.

If this sounds like you, or someone you know, check out the job opening and send us your application! We are accepting applications through June 15, 2015.

Local generosity saves lives in Western Kenya

The Post Independent out of Glenwood Springs, CO, ran an article last week about our health navigation and emergency response program in Kenya:

What a difference a year can make. Early last year, we received this message from our friend Walter Opiyo, the emergency boat captain on Mfangano Island, Kenya:

26, Jan, 2014:

“It was around midnight the father called me for assistance, that his wife was feeling labor pain and I was worried due to the condition of the boat. So I called back to inform him to come down to the beach immediately. Imagine it was raining and the lake was wavy with strong winds. Therefore I decided to grab the boat very fast, since the situation was growing more worse that I could not wait long, the baby was almost coming out and Eve (the wife) was restless and weak due to pain.

Read the entire article here

EK Scholar Secures Spot in University

Our First Scholar Makes us Proud!

Last year saw our first batch of scholars sit their KCSE exams. On Tuesday this week, we all anxiously awaited their results after the Ministry of Education finally released the same.

As she had promised the scholarship committee in a meeting early last year, Sallah Beryll kept her promise by scoring B- (Minus) with very strong points to guarantee herself a slot for direct admission into the University. This was a very positive and encouraging news which dominated the headlines at EK Center for three days in a row!

Sallah scores top in her class, securing a permanent spot in University!

Sallah scores top in her class, securing a permanent spot in University!

This is how Sallah performed:- English B-, Kiswahili B-, Mathematics D, Biology C+, Chemistry B-, Business Studies B-, History and Government B- and Christian Religious Education A-. Mean Grade B-Minus.

“I could not have achieved this without the support from OHR/EK center’s Scholarship Program. My dream to join University and pursue medical course is now a reality. I have always wished to save lives. Now it’s very crystal clear, I will one day save lives.” She said with smiles of triumph all over her face.

For Flevian Michael Ogweno, another first of EK’s scholars, her performance faired a bit lower due to serious challenges she faced with her former school which forced her to relocate last minute to a different school. She however managed a mean grade of C- (Minus).We’ll send out her performance per subject once we have them.

Many thanks to all the stakeholders who have worked either directly or indirectly to support the Ekialo Kiona Scholarship Program. These young ladies are proof that your support can move mountains. Congratulations scholars!

Written by Robinson Okeyo, EK Project Coordinator