Village Health Works Programs

We treat and prevent illness through primary health care services integrated with education, sustainable agriculture and economic development programs. Our team includes nearly 500 full and part-time employees and 1000 community volunteers and we serve 200,000 men, women and children in Kigutu and the surrounding area.

 

HEALTH

  Devon is a 6-year-old girl who was dying of pneumonia and tuberculosis. Our clinic was able to treat her successfully, supporting her labored breathing via oxygen. Like many of our discharged patients, Devon received follow-up visits from our Community Health Workers to ensure she had no relapse of symptoms. She is now a healthy, active girl and is happily attending school.

Devon is a 6-year-old girl who was dying of pneumonia and tuberculosis. Our clinic was able to treat her successfully, supporting her labored breathing via oxygen. Like many of our discharged patients, Devon received follow-up visits from our Community Health Workers to ensure she had no relapse of symptoms. She is now a healthy, active girl and is happily attending school.

Healthcare is at the center of everything we do because our patients are the very heart of why we exist. Every day we advance hope, dignity, and prosperity through health.

The health care that Village Health Works provides on our Kigutu campus and throughout the community is the core of our programming and vision. Our clinical programs focus on both prevention and treatment across five care departments: maternal and infant health, child health, non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases, and mental health.

In 2017, we saw demand for services continue to rise. Largely due to expanded outreach and education efforts, births attended by skilled health professionals increased significantly and the percentage of women breastfeeding their infants is at an all-time high. We are serving more patients in our surrounding area and we look forward to serving them more effectively via our new hospital facility.


Health Impact (2017)

EDUCATION

Our education program improves the quality of teaching and learning in Kigutu through critical support services to students, teacher training in innovative practice, and upgraded education infrastructure to help our young people reach their full potential.

Village Health Works creates the conditions for all children to learn and thrive. We start by ensuring that students are ready to learn by providing: a vibrant preschool program for 3-5 year olds, access to a daily nutritious meal, integration of health care services, a girls’ empowerment program, regular parent and community engagement efforts, and more. We also provide ongoing coaching and training to all teachers so that they can deliver high quality and child-centered instruction. In addition, we improve the physical infrastructure so that classrooms are welcoming environments that promote learning and growth.

Results at the Kigutu Fundamental School, which serves grades 1-9, speak for themselves: the childhood malnutrition rates are the lowest in the region, test scores have skyrocketed, and parents express enthusiastic support for our programs. We have started to expand educator training to other schools in the region and have bold plans to take our education work to the national level by launching the Kigutu International Academy and Teacher Leadership Institute.

  Debora just graduated preschool and will begin 1st Grade in September. “I like school because I like my teachers. They teach us many fun songs and games.” Debora also enjoys the breakfast she receives every morning as part of our nutrition program for early education, a program that ensures students are healthy enough to participate every day. She’s already teaching her younger brother everything she learns in school and she dreams of becoming a nurse someday.

Debora just graduated preschool and will begin 1st Grade in September. “I like school because I like my teachers. They teach us many fun songs and games.” Debora also enjoys the breakfast she receives every morning as part of our nutrition program for early education, a program that ensures students are healthy enough to participate every day. She’s already teaching her younger brother everything she learns in school and she dreams of becoming a nurse someday.


Education Impact (2017)

AGRICULTURE & Nutrition

Our agriculture and nutrition program provides healthy food for our patients, educates the community on farming practices, and empowers people to nourish their bodies via a diverse diet.

Our agriculture programs are essential in the promotion of healthy communities and in breaking the cycle of poverty. Through our new Nutrition Education Center that opened in 2017, community members and patients learn how to cultivate a home garden rich in nutrients, empowering them to expand their diets beyond the cassava root. We promote sustainable land use to preserve the longevity of farming possibilities and assist the community in raising animals for a reliable milk source.

Also in 2017, we had a breakthrough in the introduction of artificial insemination at our fish farm on campus. This means that the farm will yield more fish, enabling the community to have even greater access to this protein-rich food and to sell excess for profit. Healthy bodies and minds depend on quality nutrition, which is why our agriculture program is invaluable in advancing our health and education efforts.

  Through the multi-year generosity and loyal partnership of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, we unveiled The Nutrition Center, where local women like Virginie Nizigama volunteer to teach the community how to farm food that is healthy for them and for their land.    “It’s my passion, my hope for all of us to be healthy and educated and to help others.” -Virginie Nizigama

Through the multi-year generosity and loyal partnership of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, we unveiled The Nutrition Center, where local women like Virginie Nizigama volunteer to teach the community how to farm food that is healthy for them and for their land.

“It’s my passion, my hope for all of us to be healthy and educated and to help others.” -Virginie Nizigama


Agriculture and Nutrition Impact (2017)

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  Imelde is a 62-year-old farmer and member of the Jijuka fishing cooperative who is raising her four grandchildren on her own. Working with the fishing co-op has been a blessing for Imelde, enabling her to pay for her grandchildren’s school expenses in addition to improving their diet and buying them new clothes. Imelde now hopes to save money and purchase cows so that her grandchildren can have access to nourishing milk on a daily basis.

Imelde is a 62-year-old farmer and member of the Jijuka fishing cooperative who is raising her four grandchildren on her own. Working with the fishing co-op has been a blessing for Imelde, enabling her to pay for her grandchildren’s school expenses in addition to improving their diet and buying them new clothes. Imelde now hopes to save money and purchase cows so that her grandchildren can have access to nourishing milk on a daily basis.

Our economic development program empowers community members to participate in the local economy in order to alleviate the health burdens of poverty

Poverty and poor health are strongly intertwined. In Burundi, where nearly 65% of the population lives in poverty, many families are trapped in a cycle of poverty little hope of progress. Our economic development programs address the determinants of poverty by empowering community members with skills and tools to start small businesses. Cooperatives such as agriculture, sewing, baking, and fishing allow community members to generate incomes, while providing important services and products to the community. With input from community members, we will continue the expansion of our economic cooperatives.


Economic Development Impact (2017)

Community engagement

  “In the beginning, we couldn’t gather everyone for community health education. Then we started telling the story through drums and dancing. It became a way to bring everyone together and share our vision of a healthier future.”    - Peter Ndayihereje, Director of Community Engagement

“In the beginning, we couldn’t gather everyone for community health education. Then we started telling the story through drums and dancing. It became a way to bring everyone together and share our vision of a healthier future.”

- Peter Ndayihereje, Director of Community Engagement

Our Community Engagement is not only the link through which we establish trust and develop solidarity with local community members, but is the very vessel through which we deliver — and transform — every element of our programming from health to education to agriculture and economic development.

Our meaningful community connections mean that we can provide services that are culturally relevant and responsive to community-defined priorities. We receive regular feedback from our volunteers on community health needs, the perception of our practices, and how we might tailor programming to better fit our community. In 2017, we witnessed our volunteers lend their strength to repair the road to our clinic and plant thousands of trees to prevent erosion and replenish slash-and-burn land. We delivered health promotion messages through our drum circles, created films on mental health and nutrition and held screenings across the villages, and gave community trainings on preventing deforestation and using sustainable farming practices. The community repeatedly demonstrates their commitment to our mission. With their support we have grown our programs, reaching more patients and students each year.