Lwala Community Alliance (LCA) is a community-led, nonprofit health and development innovator working in Migori County in rural western Kenya. Through Lwala Community Hospital, the organization provides approximately 50,000 patient visits each year. The mission of the organization is to build the capacity of the people of North Kamagambo, including its neediest residents, to advance their own comprehensive well-being. The hospital is part of a larger effort to achieve holistic development in Lwala and the surrounding community, including educational and economic development.
The primary beneficiaries of RMF-supported Lwala Community Alliance are children, women, HIV-infected persons, and the elderly. Prior to the establishment of Lwala Community Hospital, there was no immediate access to primary health care or HIV/AIDS testing and care in the area. For this reason, Lwala’s health intervention has focused on primary care for children, access to medicines (particularly vaccines and antimalarials), HIV testing and care, public health outreach, and safe maternity. The impact has been substantial since opening, though more work is to be done, and systems of measurement need to be strengthened.
During this quarter RMF funded maternal and child health costs including:
Lwala is a village of approximately 1,500 people near Lake Victoria in western Kenya. Within an hour’s walk, approximately 3,000 additional people live in nearby villages accessible by dirt roads. Poor physical infrastructure, including impassable roads during the rainy season, lack of electricity and lack of reliable drinking water, have helped to create a critical healthcare challenge in Lwala. The mission of the Lwala Community Hospital is to meet the holistic health needs of all members of the Lwala community.
Approximately 35,000. The total population of North Kamagambo is about 16,500, and programs are a magnet to
people beyond North Kamagambo.
Vera Awuor Onuko is a 13-year-old girl attending Tuk Jowi Primary School. As a young girl living within the North Kamagambo region, she is vulnerable to teen pregnancy, sexual and gender-based violence, and sexually transmitted infections. Over holiday breaks, this risk increases, as the youth have more opportunities to engage in sexual activities outside of a nurturing school environment.
Vera feared this heightened pressure, unsure how to confidently say “No.” To learn how to protect herself, she attended RMF-supported Lwala Community Alliance’s Better Breaks program. Over one week during the holiday break, mentors educated Vera and other pupils on sexual and reproductive health and self-agency to build confidence and reduce risky behavior. Applying these tools, Vera now uses assertive eye contact and communication to resist pressure to date boys. She recognizes her own self-worth and rights as a young girl, intending to build positive relationships that do not endanger her well-being. Vera no longer feels threatened by teen pregnancy and is confident she will continue her education, using stress management and goal setting to achieve in school.
In her words,
“I am so happy that I have improved my education. I now have confidence to talk before people and even recited a poem in front of the whole group. Though I now feel safe from becoming pregnant, other girls may not. I want all youths to attend Better Breaks to learn how to abstain and stay in school.”
With this knowledge, she believes that teen pregnancy, early marriage, and school dropout can be avoided. Vera is excited to participate in future Better Breaks programs and vows to spread this knowledge to her peers to better their lives.