Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog

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08.24 2020

Being responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic for VillageReach has meant engaging in radical collaborations and responding to the present while designing for the future. We have been working from a set of principles over the last seven months, and one of the outcomes is a powerful initiative – the COVID-19 Action Fund for Africa (the Fund): a personal protective equipment (PPE) initiative for community health workers (CHWs).

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06.29 2020

One of VillageReach’s employees, Paulin Kaza, had his young life tragically cut short in a car accident on June 25, 2020. Paulin has been VillageReach’s provincial coordinator in Tanganikya, a Southeast province of DRC, since he started with the organization in December 2018.

Paulin made those around him better — all who knew Paulin were buoyed by his support and moved by his joyful spirit.  Paulin was passionate making sure all children had access to health care, which was part of what motivated him and made him proud of his work at VillageReach.  He was well-respected by his colleagues, the provincial health leadership and partners, and known for solving problems.

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06.29 2020

Notre collègue Paulin Kaza a vu sa jeune vie tragiquement interrompue dans un accident de voiture le 25 juin 2020. Paulin était le coordinateur provincial de VillageReach au Tanganyika, une province du sud-est de la RDC, depuis ses débuts avec l’organisation en décembre 2018.

Paulin a inspiré ceux qui l’entouraient – ceux qui le connaissaient étaient émus par son soutien et son esprit joyeux.  Paulin était passionné de s’assurer que tous les enfants avaient accès aux soins de santé, ce qui le motivait et le rendait fier de son travail à VillageReach. Il était très respecté par ses collègues, le personnel provincial de la santé et les partenaires, et était connu pour trouver des solutions aux problèmes.

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06.22 2020

Few people doubt that innovations from outside the public sector can help governments address myriad social problems. What is much less clear is the pathway for ensuring that promising innovations are sustained at scale. As Africa Regional Advisor for Health Innovation at WHO, Dr. Moredreck Chibi is helping light the innovation path for the 47 member states in the Africa region.

Dr. Chibi shared his views during a dialogue led by Catalyst 2030, a global movement of social change innovators working to accelerate achievement of the SDGs. Catalyst 2030 will present propositions to the UN Taskforce and governments for a potential UN Resolution next month.

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06.17 2020

I am proud to share VillageReach’s 2019 Annual Report. This report highlights the milestones of the last year as well as the changemakers who helped transform health care delivery.

Universal Health Coverage requires strong and effective primary health care systems. Constant collaboration with ministries of health, our private sector and nonprofit partners, and continued support from our generous donors, will help get us there. Only together – and with inspiring changemakers like Patience, Emanuel and Chaido – can we accelerate the pace of change.

Read the 2019 Annual Report

I look forward to all the opportunities that lie ahead in 2020 – and another year of increasing access to health care for the most under-reached.

Warm Regards,

Emily Bancroft

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05.15 2020

Originally posted on

Listening, learning and adjusting — this has been our method of operation since the last time I provided you an update about our COVID-19 response. Our priorities have evolved and it has been a balance of internal capacity, imperative continuity and the need for the complementarity against the context of a complex and fluid pandemic. For this reason, we have to optimize as we go to make sure we remain relevant to the coronavirus response. However, there are four fundamental blocks that informed our prioritization model, and these will remain constant.

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04.28 2020

When I last reached out to all of you, I felt like we were in the middle of a sprint. A sprint to mitigate the impact that COVID-19 could have on the people and the health systems in the communities where we work across sub-Saharan Africa. To make sure our staff are safe and healthy in locations where they could stay for the foreseeable futures as borders closed. To ensure we can financially support the work that we have committed to as well as the new demands and needs. To figure out what working from home looks like for a global team where much of our work is done moving through communities, collaboratively in meetings and working groups, and by moving vaccines and essential medicines to health centers across the country. In this last month, business as usual has changed dramatically but our commitment to make sure health service delivery reaches everyone has not.

In a time of crisis, coordination is one of the biggest challenges. Our relationships with governments in the places where we work allows us to focus our efforts and put our resources where they are most needed.

I am so proud of what we have been able to do so far.

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04.09 2020

Originally posted on

As countries across Africa test, trace contacts, and confirm cases of COVID-19, at VillageReach we are listening, learning and adjusting. I have been receiving regular updates from VillageReach Country Directors across our country offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi and Mozambique. For weeks now, we have focused our attention on how to prepare our staff and support our government partners in the ministries of health (MoHs). This has meant employing the best methods for rapid-response communication because the first-line of attack is to fight misinformation.

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03.11 2020

VillageReach and the Malawi Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) received a prestigious award from The National Planning Commission (NPC) recognizing Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF) or “Health Center by Phone” as a Transformative Initiative for the country. CCPF is a toll-free health hotline in Malawi that creates a link between the health center and remote communities. CCPF is staffed by trained health workers who provide information and referrals over the phone. Originally only operating in one district, the hotline is now nationwide and being integrated into the Malawian health system.

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