Working towards healthy communities for everyone: 14 stories to inspire us all

by | Apr 16, 2019 | Seeds: Our Blog

What does it mean for a community to be healthy and how can we ensure that more communities meet that standard? For the grantees that we celebrate today, there are many different answers but the common thread running through each of these amazing projects is that for a community to be healthy it must meet the needs of all community members.

From work that supports the literal health of community members facing personal challenges, ensuring healthy and nourishing food is available, and giving young people in the community the chance to find their own way in life through education and training, the projects featured here each have a contribution to make to their community and to the world. It’s safe to say that each of us would be better off if every community had people like the extraordinary grantees featured here working to ensure that we are all safer, healthier, and more connected.

Kennedy Okello – She Lives

Close to 45 percent of maternal deaths in Rwanda result from excessive blood loss after childbirth. Kennedy Okello founded She Lives, an organization seeking to curb maternal deaths by training traditional birth attendants on administering misoprostol, a drug recommended by the World Health Organization to reduce excessive bleeding after child birth. Funds form The Pollination Project will help Kennedy and his team facilitate training for midwives and increase access to the vital drugs and tools to help prevent needless deaths.

Majo Joseph, Marilia Domingo – Blessing Pit Hour of Code

Majo Joseph comes from a marginalized community where access to ICT education and technology is very limited. With the ever increasing prevalence and importance of technical literacy, Hour of Code aims to offer free coding classes, business mentorship and leadership to 30 children in public schools in Manica district, Mozambique. Coding classes will not only equip these youth with basic ICT skills but transform them into programmers capable of using technology to solve community problems and start income generating projects. It will empower them so that they can lead fulfilling lives where they have access to academic, professional and business opportunities from behind the computer screen. The grant will allow Joseph and his team to run coding workshops where we will teach children to code using Scratch

Complementary Cancer Care, INC – Non-Medical Cancer Support Services in Brevard County, FL

Complementary Cancer Care’s mission is to provide free non-medical services for anyone in Florida’s Brevard County who is dealing with a cancer diagnosis. The services are intended to complement participants’ medical treatment and support all aspects of their healing. The organization began when two yoga teachers with backgrounds working with cancer met through an executive director of another nonprofit organization designed to alleviate cancer burden and they recognized the shared passion. At the end of 2018, three compassionate and determined women joined forces and organized Complementary Cancer Care, INC. Together they offer weekly yoga for cancer survivorship classes and monthly informational support groups however have a plan to expand offerings to other healthy and holistic lifestyle practices, such as tai chi, meditation, nutrition, community activities and more.


Thumbs Up Uganda – Thumbs Up Academy- Eco Friendly Toilet

Samuel Odwar is the founder of Thumbs Up Uganda, a project that works mainly with parents of disabled children, children with disabilities, youth with disabilities, and underprivileged children in Gulu District, Northern Uganda. Samuel and his team envision a day where parents and their children with disabilities are living in inclusive communities that embrace the uniqueness of each child. In 2017 they opened Thumbs up Academy: A Very Special School, which embraces all the different needs of pupils without discrimination of abilities. They believe that every child has a special need and therefore every child is treated according to their needs and thus minor disabilities become inspiring roots and seeds of the communities.


Supreet Dhiman – End Incest Trust

End Incest Trust is a research driven and action based charity registered in India that is working towards a world that ensures safe and secure homes free of incest abuse. Using collaborative approaches to planning and designing comprehensive awareness initiatives, policy research, advocacy, and community action, Supreet Dhiman and a team of professional volunteers have held 41 awareness seminars and workshops across 5 Indian States, sensitizing 4,270 students, parents, journalists, teaching & nursing fraternity aged 10-75 years about incest abuse. With an improved and interactive website they will offer a holistic medico-legal and mental health care from a single platform to help and heal more victims, survivors, and abusers for a forearmed childhood and a forewarned society.


Glory Nyasulu and Mago Irrigation Club – Irrigation Using Rainwater Harvesting Dam

Glory Nyasulu is the founder of the Irrigation Using Rainwater Harvesting Dam project in Kwanda, Malawi. Kwanda is a region that faces prolonged dry spells and erratic rains, whereby the crops fail to thrive as a result. The region is home to a shallow river however given the extreme weather patterns, it often dries during the dry months.

The goal of this work is to improve food security through irrigation using the rainwater that will be harvested during the rainy season. Glory’s motivation stems from a visit she paid to Nthalire, a northern town in Malawi that is just as dry as the Kwanda community. What Glory saw on that day were people with access to food through irrigation and from that moment, she knew this was her calling. Her work in Kwanda will include the establishment of VIWCs: Village Irrigation and Water Committees, which will being together 10 members from 5 villages in the community. These committee members will be agents of agronomy and irrigation to ensure households are having access and are utilizing the water in the dam. As a result of this knowledge, the community members will cultivate variety of crops such as maize, beans, and vegetables on a large piece of land.


Jennifer Paola Flórez Donado – Experiences of Colombian Women with Death Risk

Jennifer Flórez and Prince Torres are the founders of the Ser Feliz is Free Foundation, an organization that works for the promotion of scientific research and dissemination of multidisciplinary projects promoting well-being, public health, and human and social development. Together they are working on their newest initiative – Experiences of Colombian Women with Death Risk – where they are creating intervention strategies that will help women recognize the danger and risks of domestic violence. Since the conception of their organization, they have carried our projects for the LGBT community, women, and immigrants.

James Peter Kirima, Nuru Rajab Msangi – Health Insurance Project

In Tanzania, women struggle to pay the expensive health bills of themselves and their family members. To address this deep rooted issue, James Kirima has established the Health Insurance Project, which will help provide health services to women and children. The project will create community awareness on the importance of affordable health insurance, mobilize women and girls in micro loan groups for small businesses, and train women on financial management. Funds from The Pollination Project will help create awareness campaigns, provide trainings to the beneficiaries, and secure start up loan money to women.


Makena Cioni – Connecting Global Communities

Connecting Global Communities, created by high school student Makena Cioni, focuses on an ESL (English as a Second Language) program for the Emmanuel Advice and Care Centre, an AIDS help center and preschool in Kwa Noxolo, South Africa. English is the unifying language in the nation of 14 national languages; and thus speaking it is a socioeconomic advantage that can lead these children to a higher education and a well paying job. Working with children 6-16 years of age in the United States, Makena will create alphabet books for the EACC, allowing kids in the United States to be actively involved in helping kids just like them on the other side of the world. The alphabet books will accompany audio-visual and educational materials aimed towards giving the children the same resources in learning that kids in the U.S. enjoy every day.


Nkwa Delphine Enow – Transforming Disadvantaged and Vulnerable Young People

In marginalized regions of Cameroon, many young people lack proper support, are battling extreme poverty, and do not know the way forward for their life and career. Many of them are at risk of embarking on an illegal migration to North America, Europe, and the Middle East, where most of them likely fall prey to traffickers. The program will work with youth through the schools and after school clubs whereby mentors will train and prepare over 500 disadvantaged youth with the intellectual and emotional skills to face the challenges they will encounter with total confidence.

Growing Food for the Community – Applying 4H and Scout Knowledge for the Community

In the heart of Omaha, Nebraska is the 18-02-04P Applying 4H and Scout Knowledge for the Community project, which focuses on soil and water management practices. This work was initiated by students at the Aquatic Society of Omaha Inc, along with students from Saint Rosa College in Uganda, East Africa. It was quickly discovered that in order for crops to thrive, they need excellent access to water without over saturation. With the 4-H curriculum in conjunction with University of Nebraska, Lincoln coursework, this project will address how water moves through soils to maximize its impact. 4-H scouts have expressed a common interest in finding places to both successfully grow crops while learning more about the science behind modern farming practices. With more students having access to develop food plus the ability to share across 12 states with the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, more will be able to explain their hands-on application. A grant from The Pollination Project will support in constructing larger raised beds for the 130-day Nebraska growing season.


Brian Akumu Okello – Gardenpreneurs

Brian Okello’s Gardenpreneurs initiative is an approach that enables farmers to utilize small plots of land and recycled tires and sacks to increase production. His mission is to expand the acreage of small-holder farmers while improving nutrition through inter-cropping. While he believes that change is a process, he considers the small activities of each of us to be the building blocks for this process.


Jean-Marie, Grace Neema, and Venant – Closing the Skills Gap for Disadvantaged Communities

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, over 80% of young people face unemployment challenges and rural poverty levels are increasing. Furthermore, food production is collapsing due to the lack of innovations in the value chain. Jean-Marie Zihalirwa and his team have been operating in Walungu territory since 1996 as Grenier pour le Développement Intégré au Bushi, GDIBU, a non-profit organization that brings capital and training in modern agriculture, entrepreneurship, and information technologies to disadvantaged youth and women. With support from The Pollination Project, boys, girls and the farmers will be gaining job-specific skills they need to become successful in their business.

Joan, Sarah, Rachael – Sewing for Better Livelihoods

Sewing for Better Livelihoods is an initiate started by Joan Namale in Nansana, Uganda, aimed at equipping mothers and teenage girls with the skills to become self-sustaining individuals, both economically and socially. Joan and her team envision a world where every person can be what they want to be without the worries of struggling to survive the day to day.

They believe that equipping mothers with the necessary skills will enable them to earn income, thus providing the basic needs of the family with or without the husband’s support. Joan shares that her inspiration comes from the huge gap between the rich and the poor in Uganda, with a majority of the people in her area not able to afford two meals a day. “I believe, with the right opportunities, everyone can achieve their dreams.” Funds from The Pollination Project will allow her to purchase sewing machines and fabric to use for the training workshops.

Written by Milena Fraccari