A video provides a snapshot of Pathfinder International’s Health of People and Environment in Lake Victoria Basin project, an integrated population, health, and environment project supported by MacArthur. The project aims to reduce threats to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem degradation in the Lake Victoria Basin while increasing access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health services.
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Annet Samaya leads a cluster of five model households on Bussi Island. HoPE has taught them sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry, sanitation and hygiene, and family planning. With income from her small farm, she has earned enough to send two of her children to boarding school on the mainland. She teaches other residents how to be similarly entrepreneurial.
With assistance and training from the Hope Project, Annet had learned sustainable agricultural practices and developed her land to such a point that it now yields more than enough to support her family. When I asked how she spends her surplus she replied that she sends her two oldest children to a good boarding school so that they may have more opportunities in the future.
The Lake Victoria Basin Commission’s work has garnered political buy-in from key actors at multiple levels, resulting in projects like the Health of People and Environment Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LBV) project, led by Pathfinder International. HoPE-LBV has been successful in a number of ways, said Othero, including helping to shift prevailing gender roles by encouraging men to engage in family planning and reproductive health and by encouraging women to engage in sustainable livelihoods and natural resource management.
The project uses integrated approaches to improve access to health services, especially family planning, sexual and reproductive health, while helping communities to manage natural resources and conserve the ecosystems on which they depend.
Focus Area: Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health
The HOPE LVB Project (Health of People and the Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin) is now replicating the same model in the fresh water ecosystem around the Lake Victoria Basin to improve public health and reduce unsustainable population growth and its attendant environmental degradation, deforestation, and overfishing. The project is being implemented in Wakiso and Mayuge Districts through a partnership between Pathfinder International, Ecological Christian Organization, CTPH, and OSIENALA (Friends of Lake Victoria) in neighboring Kenya.
"This new project is a welcome development for many reasons," said ECSP Director Geoff Dabelko. "It brings the integrated PHE approach to one of the world's greatest lakes, it enables respected health NGO Pathfinder to pursue PHE efforts, and marks the return of a leading private donor, the MacArthur Foundation, to a group of foundations willing to support this innovative approach."