Our Work in
Health & Wholeness

Umra Omar

Umra is a native of the Bajuni community in Kenya who traveled abroad for her education. Ten years later, her “restless heart turned back towards home” and she bought a one-way ticket to return to the pristine islands of her youth.

What she quickly realized was that the isolation that made her homeland so special also presented major challenges for access to healthcare. For many of the residents of the islands along the Lamu archipelago, basic and preventative medical care is unattainable, and militant extremism means that the resources within these communities are often threatened.

In response to this, Umra founded ‘Safari Doctors,’ a group of volunteers who bring free medical care by boat to the islands’ increasingly isolated people. Each month, her team sets sail in a vessel loaded with medicine and conducts mobile clinics across at least 15 remote villages, reaching over 1,000 patients. The Pollination Project provided the first seed grant to Umra, whose work has blossomed since. In 2017, she was recognized as “The United Nationals in Kenya Person of the Year Award.”

Today, there are:

  • Up to 2,000 patients reached by monthly mobile clinics across 20 remote villages
  • 30 youth health ambassadors trained to become accredited Community Health Workers
  • 58 women from 138 indigenous women’s groups engaged in their Indigenous Voices civic education programme
  • Up to 300 animals treated by Safari Vets programme each month

Bridget Saffold

Bridget Saffold, a dedicated registered nurse, has become a pivotal figure in the fight against diabetes, both in her local community in Iowa and nationally. With the initial funding from The Pollination Project, she organized the Cedar Valley Focus on Diabetes, which rapidly grew into the largest healthcare education event in her area. When the COVID-19 pandemic led to restricted access to routine screenings, which was particularly critical for diabetic patients needing frequent blood screenings, Bridget launched the Focus on Diabetes COVID-19 Assist Initiative. This program, supported by The Pollination Project’s Resilience and Recovery fund, enabled her team to support the diabetic community during these challenging times.

Bridget Saffold

As healthcare facilities limited services, Bridget’s initiative provided over 200 vital care packages to diabetic patients, containing essential items like glucose monitors, test strips, masks, hand sanitizers, and alcohol swabs. Additionally, through the support of The Pollination Project, her team established a community garden, enhancing fresh vegetable access. Focus on Diabetes operates solely on volunteer efforts, without financial backing from local foundations or hospitals. The funding from The Pollination Project has been a crucial element in expanding their services, including the long-desired community garden project. Their efforts received widespread recognition, with endorsements from Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative and the City of Waterloo, which declared the first week of September as Cedar Valley Focus on Diabetes Week.


Tehya Jennett

“Gen Z Mental Health: Climate Stories” focuses on climate anxiety and resiliency, featuring Gen Z’ers from across the globe. The Gen Z’ers in this documentary talk about how climate change affects their mental health, life choices, & their visions for the future. This documentary finds a balance between actualizing the very real climate anxiety of Gen Z’ers while also highlighting the ways in which they find resilience and fight their fears about climate change by having conversations about climate change, getting involved in their community, and taking direct action.

Bridget Saffold

The grant from The Pollination Project supported their in person community screening event, Playground Earth,  that saw an attendance of 150 community members and facilitated 750 actions for mental health and climate justice. The event had a total of 16 community partners and sponsors, and brought together members of the film and art community, mental health professionals, climate action organizations, and youth activists for a discussion on climate emotions.

In addition to this event, they have also hosted 75 community screenings across 16 countries with academic partners, climate organizations, and film partners for a total of 110,000 engagements.

They have screened with the United Nation and World Health Organization, as well as at COP28 – bringing climate mental health to the front stage in the broader climate movement.

Olympia Auset

Olympia believes wholeheartedly that the easiest way to change a life is to change a diet. Unfortunately, in her native South LA, fresh food has historically been scarce.

SUPRMARKT LA. offers affordable organic produce through a weekly pop-up grocery + subscription service. They bring produce to places and people who need it the most. It was founded by Olympia Auset in 2016 and received their first seed grant in 2017, which helped the initiative to get off the ground. In 2018, Olympia received another Impact grant from TPP to develop her program even further.

In 2018, thanks in part to TPP’ support, Olympia: 

  • reached the nonprofit status for her org, 
  • secured a $25,000 grant from Greenbaum,
  • lead classes and workshops at community centers, 
  • provided over 25,000 pounds of organic produce since they started,
  • has been invited to speak at SXSW

As of today, SÜPRMARKT has provided more than 100,000 pounds of organic fruit, veggies, and staples affordably in South LA, a community which has 1.3 million residents but only 60 grocery stores.

SÜPRMARKT has been featured in LA Times, USA Today, Forbes, Washington Post, and many more.

John Ebong

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), encompassing conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory illnesses, cancers, and mental health issues, are the leading cause of death worldwide. Nigeria, in particular, faces substantial morbidity and mortality due to NCDs.

John Ebong stands out as a dedicated young reformer and global health advocate with a deep commitment to improving health in low and middle-income countries. 

In 2017, he established the Health Compass Initiative (HCI), a non-governmental organization aimed at combating NCDs in under-resourced areas. HCI focuses on prevention, early detection, and control of these diseases at the grassroots level. Recognizing his remarkable leadership, Ebong was honored with the 2022 Young Leader Award by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH).

Bridget Saffold

In 2021, HCI received a grant for their “Know Your Numbers” initiative, which responded to the urgent need for diabetes screening services. The lack of such services had previously led to delayed detection, reduced quality of life, significant morbidity, and numerous deaths. Through the project, HCI reached 3,000 Nigerians in the Akwa Ibom State, providing free blood sugar testing and comprehensive health education on the prevention and control of diabetes. Additionally, those diagnosed with diabetes during the project received further support and guidance and were connected to quality healthcare providers for specialized care.

John is one of our amazing Grant Advisors. Since becoming a grantee, John has graduated medical school, participated in Greenhouse (we also awarded him a Greenhouse grant), and published a book!