Now Hiring: Global Health Fellow

Option of starting between March 15th and June 15th 2014
to July 21st, 2015(also negotiable)

Overview
Village Hopecore International is offering a fellowship in global health for individuals and graduate students who are interested in and have backgrounds in the areas of public health, nursing or medicine at its project site in Chogoria, Kenya. The fellowship is a one year position with start and end dates negotiable at the time of contract signing. The fellow will receive a $500 per month living stipend which over the 12 months will cover all living costs and the transportation cost of getting to Kenya. There have been eight prior fellows in our program.

Fellowship Description
Village Hopecore International is a not for profit organization registered in Kenya and the United States with a mission to eradicate poverty and improve the health and living conditions of the Wameru people of Chogoria, Kenya. At this time, the Hopecore health project affects approximately 30,000 villagers and students in our school-based mobile clinics and disease preventions programs.

The project has been operating for the last 14 years and is situated on Mt. Kenya, four hours north of Nairobi by car at 5,000 feet elevation in a lovely area of tea and coffee farms. It is located approximately 20 miles south of the equator.

In 2000, HopeCore began a unique and innovative poverty eradication project that combines a Grameen style micro enterprise village bank, and an adult education program with a village level health care program. The health care program focuses on child and maternal health issues, and HIV and malaria prevention.

Since February 2011, HopeCore has been operating a school-based mobile clinic program by making a partnership with 16 primary schools and 8 secondary schools in the Chogoria area. Each mobile clinic begins with health education on various topics including malaria, HIV/AIDS, hygiene, and nutrition. Subsequently, students in our 24 schools receive free health services for the most common health issues (e.g., malaria, typhoid). We now have expanded our program to include 62 primary and secondary schools in our area. This would mean that our program would be offering health services to 15,500 students.

We have now installed clean water tanks with simple, effective chlorination systems in 90 schools in our area as well as providing them with hand washing stations and soap. This will expand to 179 by July 2014.

The fellow will participate in a hands-on fashion with this ongoing community health project. The fellow’s major responsibilities will be to help supervise the public health and malaria prevention programs including the mobile clinic, the clean drinking water project, mosquito net distribution, HIV prevention program and health education activities. The Fellow will also work on grant writing and fundraising.
The fellow works closely with the Kenyan nurses, community health workers, and local schools, hospitals and government offices. HopeCore will provide training and supervision to the fellow to accomplish the responsibilities listed above.

Compensation and Lodging
HopeCore will provide a $500 per month stipend to the fellow. The stipend is designed to cover all lodging and living expenses in Chogoria as well as travel expenses and health insurance expenses. HopeCore has a safe and secure apartment for the fellow in our local hospital’s compound. The apartment has cooking facilities, refrigerator and complete bathroom facilities. The rent for the apartment is $80 per month and will be paid out of the $500 per month stipend. Food costs in the village should run about $60 per month. It is required that for the fellow’s own protection, each fellow must have health insurance and evacuation insurance. The stipend was designed to provide $100 per month to help with the cost of health insurance and evacuation insurance. The fellow will be responsible for transportation costs to and from Kenya. Roundtrip airfare from the west coast of the US to Nairobi will be around $2000, less expensive from the east coast. The fellow will receive four weeks of vacation during the fellowship. The $500 per month stipend should cover all of the fellow’s transportation expenses getting to Kenya, all of the living expenses while in Chogoria and most if not all the cost of health insurance while in Kenya. The stipend is designed to allow a fellow to spend a year in Kenya without having to incur additional educational loans.

Application and Selection Process
The application and selection process will involve three stages. In the first stage, applicants e-mail a one page, cover letter stating the reason for their interest in our fellowship and a CV to Liz Applegate, former global health fellow, eliz.appligate@gmail.com. The cover letters and CV’s will be evaluated and a selection will be made of competitive applicants. In the second stage, competitive applicants will be interviewed over the phone. Following the phone interviews, a group of finalists will be selected. In the third stage, the finalists will have an in-person interview or another phone interview if geographical considerations do not allow for an in-person interview. References will be obtained at this time. All finalists will have a chance to talk by phone and e-mail with the current Hopecore Fellow to ask questions about the position and living conditions.

Further information
More information on HopeCore can be found at www.villagehopecore.org

A New Year, New Updates from Public Health

By: Haylee Barbo, 2013-14 Public Health Fellow

As we begin a new school term, public health has many exciting new developments on the horizon. First off, we have hired a new Community Health Worker, Faith Mugambi. She has begun a two week training period beginning Monday, January 13, 2014. She is learning about the anatomy and physiology of the eye as well as pathology and vision testing. Beginning in late February, early march she will become the newest addition to the mobile health clinic team in the field. She will be testing the visual acuity of pupils within the public school system and identifying those who need referral for further treatment and/or eye glasses. Many primary and secondary school children are at a disadvantage to their other peers in the classroom, simply because they cannot see the black board. This intervention has the potential to improve the learning capacity and educational experience of so many children, eventually making them more learned, productive members of society as a whole.

Next, we will be moving into the second phase of our water tank project. Beginning in March we’ll be installing large drinking water tanks and small hand washing tanks in an additional 45 schools. By the end of the March over 39,000 children will have access to clean drinking water and hand washing facilities in school. The long term goal is to cover all public primary and secondary schools in Maara District by the end of Summer 2014. These interventions are and will continue to drastically reduce the rate of gastrointestinal disease among school children in our community.

Lastly, in the upcoming months, we will begin the recruitment process for a new public health coordinator. We are excited to welcome fresh, new, experience leadership to the public health team!

HopeCore’s Hero!

By: Kory Hansen, 2013-14 Micro-Enterprise Fellow

On December 12th 1963, Kenya became a fully independent nation as the British monarchy relinquished its hold upon the colony.

Fifty years later, I am very privileged and happy to be a member of the HopeCore family and overjoyed to be able to join the celebrations marking this momentous anniversary for my adopted homeland.  Several members of the HopeCore family made the trip from Chogoria to the Tharaka-Nithi county seat, Kathwana, on Thursday the twelfth of December 2013.  There were many groups, offices and organizations represented at the event.  The day was marked by many interesting and moving speeches and great entertainment from singers and dancers.

One of the highlights of the day was the special recognition HopeCore and our Founder-CEO/President Kajira “KK” Mugambi received.  KK was named a “Hero” of Tharaka-Nithi County for the contributions to poverty reduction and health improvement that have been made through HopeCore. KK has prepared a statement to express his gratitude for the honors that were bestowed upon him individually and HopeCore as an organization.

“I am both proud and humbled by the reality of the honor.  The two words “Thank you” are too small to do the huge job of expressing my appreciation for being selected to receive it.  But since they are the only words we have in the dictionary to do that big job, let it be sufficient for me to sincerely say, Thank you! Thank you!

And thank you to you my HopeCore family including our Board of Directors for your contribution toward this honor.  It is obvious that I did not bring about this honor all by myself.  It is a team effort.  Let the honor inspire the HopeCore family to be of greater service to our people through the spirit of “service above self.” 

Peace and Blessings to everyone

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Dr. KK Mugambi and guests attending "Hero" award ceremony in Kathwana.

Dr. KK Mugambi and guests attending “Hero” award ceremony in Kathwana.

 

A productive and fruitful year for Public Health

By: Haylee Barbo, 2013-14 Global Health Fellow

Public Health at Village Hopecore is ever growing and expanding. These several months have focused on two goals: making our current programs as sustainable and efficient as possible as well as brainstorming and developing several new programs we will be implementing after the first of the year.

This in mind, our mobile health clinic has managed to reduce the rate of respiratory, parasitic and fungal infections within the school system and among our loan clients, where our clean water tank initiative for water sanitation and hygiene has proven to drastically reduce the prevalence of diarrheal disease and other water borne illness among school aged children in all our partner schools. For the past year we have been distributing approximately 400 fully subsidized, treated bed nets to school children age 4-14 and additionally provided education on malaria prevention and home water treatment to both parents and children. Net monitoring visits are showing that between 90 and 100% of these nets are being used in the proper manner and hung correctly to provide maximum protection against the mosquito vector. As a result, in school, the rate of absence due to malaria has fallen so much so that we are rarely treating for malaria and almost never finding cases of advanced infection, which can be fatal in some cases.

This year has been a productive and fruitful one for public health activities. As the school term comes to a close, our partnerships with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health are stronger than they have ever been. This year we are proud to announce, Village Hopecore International was awarded the Best Supportive Organization in Education from the Maara District Education Office. Keep up the excellent work Public Health Department!

In the next 3 months, many positive changes will be taking place in public health, namely the implementation of new programs, the expansion of current ones, a heightened focus on health prevention and promotion, and several new additions to our staff! Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy holiday season!

First Impressions

By: Kory Hansen, 2013-14 Micro-Enterprise Fellow

Jambo!  It is hard to believe that my first month in Chogoria has already come to a close.  The phrase time flies when you are having fun has never been truer!  The past month has been filled with new experiences, lessons, people and places.  During this period of change I was made very welcome and received a great amount of support from my new HopeCore family.  Everyone at HopeCore has made the adjustment process much easier than expected.  After only a few days it felt like I had known many of the people here for years as opposed to a very short time.

Learning more about my role with HopeCore as the incoming Micro-Enterprise Fellow and becoming acquainted with Chogoria itself has been a pleasure.  Already in the first month I have been able to interact with the community on many different levels.  I have joined fellow HopeCore representatives during the process of creating the five-year strategic plan for Maara sub-county, the home of HopeCore’s headquarters in Kenya.  Inclusion in the process of creating this document to guide development and growth in the region awards HopeCore the opportunity to strengthen its ties within the community, with the local and regional governments and assures HopeCore will continue to act as an agent for change and advancement in this part of Kenya.  I am very appreciative to have been included in the development of such a worthwhile and necessary document.

During this first month of my stay here in Kenya with Village HopeCore International has also given me many other opportunities to interact with the community.  Accompanying the Micro-Enterprise team into the field and conducting visits to our client’s homes and businesses has been a pleasure. Kenyan generosity will result in more of me to welcome if I am not careful!  The tea, treats and food are much too tempting to turn down!

A few highlights from the first month include: visiting our clients and seeing the ventures that are being supported through various activities supported by Village HopeCore International, discovering people are very anxious to help my Kiswahili language skills (or lack there of), realizing how colourful and naturally beautiful the area surrounding Chogoria is and hearing many times from community members how happy they are to be home to HopeCore and how beneficial the work done for the community is.

I am extremely happy to have joined the HopeCore team and look forward to many rewarding experiences and activities during the next year.