The Sumner Rotary Club’s ongoing partnership with Team Agape Kenya provides health care, clean water, sanitation and education to thousands of individuals throughout Southwest Kenya every year.
In 2008, the executive director of a small non-profit mission organization in Ongata Rongai, Kenya toured the U.S. in search of partnerships to support development projects in areas of need including hygiene, health, education, and child rights advocacy. In response, a team of eight teachers and students from Sumner, WA traveled the following summer to Kenya. Upon return, the team started a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to advocacy and supporting the development projects in rural Kenya. Their chosen name, Team Agape Kenya, references love in action, and Rotary Club of Sumner quickly became an influential supporter of many development initiatives in Kenya.
Thirteen years later, Rotary Club of Sumner continues to be a powerful partner in advocating for health and education in Southern Kenya through financial support of Team Agape Kenya. Shallow water wells, latrine facilities, clean water retention systems, and individualized health initiatives have impacted thousands in Southwest Kenya.
The many small-scale projects funded in partnership with Rotary have paved the way to a larger, longitudinal initiative that has saved and enriched thousands of Kenyan lives since 2016. This notable Rotary-sponsored project is the Magadi Mobile Health initiative. The idea for this project was simple – Team Agape Kenya wanted to meet patient and community needs in their own communities. Access is the greatest barrier to receiving primary healthcare and preventive education against disease in rural Kenya. The aim of the Magadi Mobile Health initiative is to bring resources and education to rural communities. The number of patients served annually through this outreach is astounding.
The Magadi Mobile Health initiative – referred to as the Magadi Jeepline – is a mobile, operational clinic that provides health services and education to rural communities utilizing nurses from local health facilities in seven regions of Magadi County in the Southwest corner of Kenya. Magadi is a pure agrarian region characterized by low rainfall, high prices of food staples, and poor travel networks. The Jeepline is a collaborative project between Team Agape Kenya and the Department of Health in the Magadi service area, which became fully operational in 2019.
The Jeepline deploys a community health model that involves Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to reach five rural outreach sites throughout the region. Community health focus areas include vaccinations, treatment of primary care illnesses and infections, education pertaining to water-borne illness prevention and transmission of disease. Areas of focus in specific outreach sites include educating women in the prevention of mother to child infections, promotion of prenatal clinics, and encouragement to seek hospital delivery to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission.
Though not exhaustive, the list of outcomes from the most recent annual report (May 2020-April 2021) illustrate the impact that the Jeepline initiative has made for the thousands of individuals that receive care on a monthly basis:
In just one year, the Jeepline saw over 15,000 individual patient encounters providing primary health care services. Out of these, 65.5% were children and 34.5% were adults.
The majority of the patients accessing health services had respiratory tract infections, eye infections and diarrheal diseases. Immunizations were the second most commonly sought after service, and the Jeepline is relied upon by the local Department of Health to administer vaccines.
A 2020 Polio outbreak mobilized the Jeepline to assist the government in administering vaccinations.
With Rotary support, a region with five separate communities impacted heavily by drought were supplied with five large water-reserve tanks to complement the already existing Rotary-sponsored shallow well.
The Rotary Club of Sumner donated Christmas money to Magadi children. This financial donation was used to buy food for 60 families in Magadi. The beneficiaries were reached through community health workers in partnership with the Jeepline.
250 young girls at an elementary school supported by Team Agape Kenya, including those with special needs, were given reproductive health education on menstruation as well as supplies to decrease school absence and reduce hygiene related infections.
Because of the Rotary funded Magadi Jeepline, response to rural areas is swift no matter the public health need. With Rotary’s continued support, thousands more patient visits will provide the region with preventative and primary care services that would otherwise go unattended and cause unnecessary suffering.
Thirteen years of partnership between Sumner Rotary Club and Team Agape Kenya has undoubtedly changed thousands of lives in Kenya and touched the hearts of those who have contributed to the ongoing mission.
Now more than ever, it is evident that powerful non-profit partnerships and leveraging local connections is the driving force that changes health outcomes for vulnerable communities around the world.