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Collaborating for Health

Collaborating for Health engages strengths in communities to co-design solutions that improves health for all ages.

Photo of Jerome Sam-De Mwaya
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Collaborating for Health in Tanzania and Uganda focuses on intergenerational and family-centered interventions to improve health for all ages. It is a data-informed and human-centered approach that starts with understanding the health challenges people face and supports communities to co-design responses. Communities have designed and are implementing projects focusing on sanitation, nutrition, physical exercises, livelihood projects, regular health checkups, access to health services, and formal/informal health sector collaboration. For example, intergenerational teams are learning how to make environmentally-friendly briquettes for cooking. This helps increase prosperity for families, strengthen intergenerational solidarity, improve health, and protect the environment. The model starts with bringing generations together, taps into individual and community strengths, and supports people's roles as change agents as they work to improve the health of the whole community. Now other villages are asking to learn how to get involved. This proposal is to prototype a Learning Transfer model that bridges communities through training, mentoring, and coaching between villages, so they can learn from each other, share experiences, and develop solutions to challenges. It will also continue to strengthen collaboration between teams in Tanzania and Uganda. Design Challenge: How might we support villages to collaborate and learn from each other how to promote healthy and active lifestyles for all ages? PEACE: This project focuses on the need to strengthen the social compact that connects people across all ages, and recognizes that community change requires more comprehensive approaches. PROSPERITY: Poverty is one of the main barriers to accessing health services. Improving livelihood helps ensure people have access to healthy foods and treatment. PLANET: Income-generating activities that also are environmentally-friendly are a catalyst for innovation and market creation.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Beneficiaries are families Kibaha District, Tanzania, and Wakiso District, Uganda. Community members of all ages are engaged, from children in primary school, youth, middle age adults and older persons. 10 villages in Kibaha and 5 villages in Entebbe are currently engaged in the project. This proposed challenge will help us prototype a process to increase scale through village to village learning transfer, in which villages are the experts and providing mentoring and coaching to each other. The governments in both Tanzania and Uganda have highlighted this model as being a sustainable process, driven by communities, to improve health across all ages. The potential is for this Learning Transfer model to be implemented country-wide in each country.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

This approach is successful and addresses an unmet need because it brings generations together with other stakeholders, taps into individual, family and community strengths, and supports people’s roles as change agents as they work to improve the health of the whole community. This proposal is unique in that it focuses on a design challenge: How might villages collaborate and learn from each other how to promote healthy and active lifestyles for all ages? It is based upon the belief that when communities realize their strengths, they are able to come together and address the issues that they care about, with limited external resources.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

HelpAge USA is an affiliate of HelpAge International - the only Global Network focused on improving the lives of older people and their families, ensuring they have access to health care and the income they need, that their voices are heard, and they receive the humanitarian assistance they need in times of crisis. Websites of partners:

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In Uganda, older people began to come together to realize their strengths and address the issues they were facing in their lives. Youth started to get involved and together younger and older people began to develop solutions through a process called Community Life Competence. Older persons and youth now share information, collaborate, support, and build up one another. The team in Uganda then transferred the knowledge to Tanzania. Out of this partnership Collaborating for Health was born.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Older persons and youth in Tanzania and Uganda often face similar challenges to improving their health and well-being. At the same time, older people can feel more socially isolated and vulnerable, without the family support that has traditionally been available. Youth can feel disengaged and on the margins of society. And both generations can feel their strengths are not recognized in order to be an active partner in developing solutions in their communities. This can lead to strain between generations and in communities. As generations come together, they are more able to develop income-generating activities that helps them to address challenges of poverty. They are able to do this in ways that honors where they have come from, and a vision for where they are going that bridges cultural wisdom. Together, youth and older people can develop solutions that address environmental challenges.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

HelpAge Uganda, HealthNest Uganda, HelpAge International Tanzania, and HelpAge USA will work together to prototype a Learning Transfer model to increase scale of the Collaborating for Health model to more villages/districts Tanzania and Uganda. It will first and foremost be led by Older Persons Groups in collaboration with other generations. Partner organizations will also work alongside to ensure full community participation, of all ages. The Constellation Network will provide coaching support on how to develop a Learning Transfer model that is sustainable and engages the strengths of community members at its core. The StoryCenter will provide coaching support on how to capture and develop digital stories from this work.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

In Tanzania and Uganda, Older Persons Groups are a backbone of this work. They provide the leadership for engaging communities to co-design solutions. Community members have already begun sharing the Collaborating for Health model and innovations with other villages given people's distributed family networks. People are hearing the news of what villages are doing in Entebbe Uganda and Kibaha Tanzania and want to get involved. The local and national governments are engaged and supportive.

Geographic Focus

East Africa - Entebbe Uganda and Kibaha Tanzania

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The Learning Transfer prototype implementation would take place over 36 months. First year - village teams in Tanzania and Uganda will engage in the three phases of human-centered design and test a Learning Transfer prototype. Second year - village teams will implement the Learning Transfer process they designed and prototyped in the first 12 months. Third year - village teams and organizational partners will develop and share tools and learning.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

Attachments (1)


The Katabi community in Entebbe, Uganda created a dream of a healthy community.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Russell Davis

Hello Jerome, I would like to discuss your project efforts and potential to join our project efforts. We have similar activities under our Nutricina and ABEVILA activities that can be shared to help you. When is convenient to talk? My WhatsApp number is +5582998098700. Here are some links that may be helpful for you to review:

Photo of Jerome Sam-De Mwaya

Hello Russell. Thank you so much for connecting and sharing these resources. I will follow up with you via What's App.