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 30,000 to 40,000 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.
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.
Elizabeth Achieng Omiti is a widow caring for three of her grandchildren. She is known as Mama Kanisa, which translates to “Mother of the Church,” stemming from her leadership role at a local place of worship. Two years ago, Elizabeth tested HIV positive. She joined Lwala’s integrated HIV and WASH (HAWI) program to engage with community members and learn from Community Health Workers (CHWs) and hospital staff. Because of this support, she has been diligent about taking medications and attending regular appointments at the hospital. As an enrolled participant of the HAWI program, Elizabeth also sought opportunities to learn more about water access, sanitation, and hygiene to improve her health.
Though she had a latrine in her yard, it barely functioned and was falling apart. Prior to the training, Elizabeth thought that the unusable latrine showed neighbors that she kept a clean home. In reality, she discovered that a latrine alone did not keep her home clean; Elizabeth needed to fix and use her latrine.
After lacking help from family, Elizabeth turned to her fellow HAWI trainees for assistance. She led the team in organizing a series of “WASH Action Days,” where community members joined together to build latrines, providing loans, supplies, and labor. During this initiaive, Elizabeth’s family realized the latrine’s value and joined in on the construction at her home. Within a few days, and after hours of hard labor, Elizabeth had a new latrine. She felt confident, knowing that she now had a safe space for sanitation, and she encouraged neighbors and family to use the structure to promote healthy behaviors. Because of Elizabeth’s success in building a latrine and the camaraderie amongst HAWI members, one of her neighbors felt compelled to join the program. Elizabeth continues to advocate in the community, spreading the message of the HAWI program and the importance of building and using latrines.