Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog
10.26 2021

It all started with a plane, a cyclone and a desire to help people.

In 1999, Graça Machel and her husband Nelson Mandela boarded a plane to Seattle. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Craig and Susan McCaw Foundation sponsored their trip, which aimed to raise awareness and funding for both Machel’s and Mandela’s respective foundations. At the time Gates and McCaw ran a telecommunications company, and they sent one of their executives, Blaise Judja-Sato, to South Africa as a welcoming committee to accompany Machel and Mandela on the flight.

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10.13 2021

When Cyclone Idai caused widespread devastation across Mozambique in 2019, Dr. Rotafina Donco was on the ground in the coastal city of Beira, much of which had been washed away in the floods. She recalls her tears when she saw the destruction that had taken place, and her urgent task – to contain emergent waterborne diseases so that the people of Mozambique didn’t suffer a further tragedy. I met with Dr. Donco two years later, when she had joined VillageReach as Country Director for Mozambique, to discuss her important new role in transforming health care delivery.

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10.06 2021

Originally posted at Forbes.com

What is normal anymore? I am constantly discussing what my own “return to normal” looks like with my friends, family and colleagues. And while this normal looks different for each of us, one thing is clear: The pandemic has fundamentally changed our values, requiring us to embrace the challenge and opportunity of redefining normal. The conversation facing the social sector is no different.

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09.08 2021

In a pandemic, innovation is not an option. It is a requirement.

At VillageReach, innovation has long been a core value. We believe creativity and fearless exploration are essential to developing sustainable solutions that improve the availability of health services and foster lasting change for communities everywhere.

We also know that in times of crisis, innovation can take many forms — from new ideas and new ways of working, to new uses for existing tools. Over the past 18 months VillageReach has supported governments across the countries we work in, relying on our spirit of innovation to both respond to COVID-19 now and strengthen health systems for the future.

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08.04 2021

Originally posted at Medium.com

I am excited to announce three new leaders for VillageReach – two who are stepping into new roles, and one who we welcome to the VillageReach family. As an organization that is committed to leadership that represents the diversity of our global team, we value the growth and evolution of leaders within our incredible staff of 160 people around the globe.

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07.28 2021

Originally posted on Skoll.org.

As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic bore down in Democratic Republic of Congo in December 2020, Bébé Bola, a community health worker (CHW) in the Pakadjuma township of Kinshasa knew that she and her colleagues lacked the personal protective equipment (PPE) they needed to do their job safely. “We only have a few hydro alcoholic gels and a small number of masks, but this is not enough,” she told Benedicte Waula of VillageReach. “We need the protective materials to continue to do our service well.”

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06.30 2021

Addressing vaccine hesitancy is not a new challenge in public health. But the issue has been thrust into the spotlight since COVID-19 vaccinations began, often with a myopic focus on the refusal of people to use available doses. The result? A single story that clouds the real, complex barriers to vaccine uptake.

Vaccine hesitancy is defined as the delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite their availability. According to the World Health Organization’s “3C’s model” there are three main factors at play: confidence, complacency and convenience. 

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06.21 2021

Originally posted on medium.com.

Last Mile Supply Chain (LMSC) is an innovative and efficient model for medicines and vaccines distribution, implemented by VillageReach in partnership with the Government of Mozambique and private sector companies in 2018. The Gaza and Inhambane provincial government introduced LMSC in November 2020 and January 2021, respectively, with Maputo province beginning operations in May 2021.

With the objective to improve the LMSC implementation process, three provinces gathered in Inhambane province with a unique opportunity to share experiences on how to respond to the changes resulting from the new distribution model.

Respected doctors, EPI leads and logisticians made up the delegation from the three provinces. Among many challenges, the participants shared during the discussions, integration of vaccines into routine medicines distribution dominated the sessions. They noted how it required flexibility from different sectors to align the distribution phases and work collectively to ensure people get the products they need.

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05.19 2021

Originally posted on medium.com.

VillageReach and Emerging Public Leaders co-hosted a session at this year’s Skoll World Forum entitled “The Elephant in the Room: Exploring the Funder-Government Power Dynamics.”  The session highlighted some of the issues that inhibit shared power and identified tangible examples to help close the distance between opposing systems of funders and governments, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.  Several panelists agreed to answer additional questions from audience members that weren’t able to be covered during the session.  (Watch the full session on Youtube and read the Devex article for context and speakers.)

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