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. 


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