Conceptual Framework for Ukweli Test Strips and GSIF

Over the course of two classes, we discussed the idea of “conceptual frameworks” and how we could integrate them into our specific ventures, but also how we could use them to look at the Global Social Impact Fellowship as a whole. By identifying the key systemic issues that are creating the problem of focus for our venture (maternal mortality in Sierra Leone for Ukweli’s case), and a little bit of artistic talent, we created a two part conceptual framework, one which highlights the issues causing high maternal mortality and the other focusing on how Ukweli helps resolve those issues to create situations where mothers can safely deliver their babies.

This graphic illustrates the barriers, or the “mountain”, that inhibits pregnant women from either reaching a Peripheral Health Unit for screening, or from reaching a PHU at all, which is a major factoring in the high maternal death rate of Sierra Leone. The barriers that exist consist of transportation issues, poor education regarding health and maternal health, cultural stigmas surrounding urinary tract infections and preeclampsia, low income of the patients, and a lack of medical resources nearby to the women who need maternal health assistance.

This is the graphic of the conceptual framework that outlines how Ukweli is working to bridge the gap between the women in communities and screening services for their maternal health. By instituting a system that is specific, affordable, accessible, and empowers the health workers within the communities in which pregnant women live, Ukweli is able to create a service and a product that is more effective in potentially lowering the maternal mortality rate than the current system in place. The affordability helps alleviate the barrier of low income for these women, as Ukweli’s strips are a fraction of the cost of current strips on the market, while the accessibility and the fact that CHWs are now able to screen takes away the barrier of women having to potentially travel hours to the nearest clinic to get screened, which usually discourages women from getting screened at all.

GSIF Conceptual Framework

This conceptual framework outlining the Global Social Impact Fellowship revolves around the 3 main individuals or groups that allow for the projects and program as a whole to be successful, with those being groups being students from multiple disciplines at Lehigh, the professors and faculty that oversee and serve as mentors to the projects, and the in-country partnerships that allow for effective communication and logistics to be organized in the countries of focused. Together, those three players utilize their unique skillsets and expertise to create the large, overarching goal of the GSIF program, which is Impact. Using the resources available, some of which are outlined in the blue ring, these players are capable of creating Impact on many aspects of life, which are outlined in the outer ring of the visual. The aspects of life that positive impact are being created for include things such as reduction of maternal mortality, providing sustainable and locally sourced food that provide employment for individuals, reducing stunting and malnutrition in children, and many other issues that are looking for solutions.

 

Week 7 Blog Post: Partnerships and Coalitions

Our class prior to pacing break revolved around the idea of forming partnerships and creating coalitions in order to progress our ventures forward and create sustainable and effective impact. When this concept was broken down in class amongst our specific ventures, we were able to identify a multitude of outside individuals and groups who could provide us with insights and skills beneficial for our project, even though some may not have appeared as likely contributors at the commencement of the project. Through these partnerships, many of these individuals and groups benefited personally and professionally as well. Some of the partners and collaborators identified for Ukweli included: 

  • Hassan:
    • Hassan acts as our translator in country, but also maintains a role in Ukweli while we are at Lehigh serving as the projects Distribution Manager by training health workers and selling test strips to those individuals in order for community members to be screened. This is a symbiotic relationship, as while Ukweli is progressing due to Hassan’s work, he is being financially compensated and being provided a stable job.
  • Allieu:
    • As the health director for World Hope International, Allieu provided Ukweli with a lot of logistical support in country and also used his position to progress our project’s push forward to obtain our product registration license. While a job like this is something that would already be included in his job title, a symbiotic relationship exists because working on this venture could help him gain more of a standing through communication with the pharmacy board and could improve his status within World Hope. 
  • Bockarie:
    • Bockarie serves as the finance manager for World Hope’s Makeni office, but also serves a pivotal role for Ukweli, as he takes the lead on monitoring the inventory of test strips and the money collected through Ukweli’s operations. 
  • Saidu:
    • As the country director for World Hope, Saidu oversees many of the largest funding and operation decisions for the program, and makes calls that impact Ukweli and how we operate in Sierra Leone. Allieu and Hassan also report to him, which gives him a role that oversees the two main employees in country for Ukweli. A symbiotic relationship exists, as his calls benefit Ukweli, but Ukweli’s progress enables World Hope to benefit. 
  • Carrie Jo:
    • As the World Hope Consultant of healthcare issues, Carrie Jo was crucial in helping us meet the DMO in 2018, as well as helping us collect data and organize radio meetings this past summer. While she is helping us, Ukweli is creating positive impact in the field she is most focused on, which is maternal health. 
  • We also had beneficial individuals outside of our immediate Ukweli team in the United States who contributed to our project. One was Sue Baggot, who was a connection of Khanjan’s who works as one of the heads of a Cincinnati angel investment group and consulting group. Over the summer, she provided us with a large amount of help in terms of running our crowdfunding campaign to raise money for operations, and continues to occasionally provide insights on how to go about our future funding endeavors. Professor Lori Herz also provided us with help throughout the course of this project, as she has provided us with guidance on the science end of our venture and allows to access to lab space at Lehigh University. 

 

If we were to create a coalition, this group would be focused around the idea of creating a world with a maternal mortality rate of zero, starting with Sierra Leone. A shorter term goal would be to have this coalition create enough of an impact to the point where it is recognized and then adopted by the government of Sierra Leone, and then have the ability to spread into neighboring countries. This coalition would include the previously mentioned individuals, but would also bring in larger players both on a foreign scale but also domestically in the United States. Some of the potential members for this coalition would include: 

    – Funders in US and international markets

      • Grand Challenges Canada 
      • Venture Well
      • USAID
      • Gates Foundation
      • NORAD
      • DFID
    • Nurse society (from Freetown)
    • World Hope International
    • Human rights NGOs and some doctors
    • Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

With a strong coalition that includes a plethora of multifaceted partners all focused on a common goal, the dream of largely reducing the maternal mortality rate could be reached.