The HealthStart Pilot

The big focus for this trip is the end of the HealthStart pilot.

What is HealthStart?

Thanks to the support of our biggest donor, Festival Republic, for the past three years we’ve been running HealthStart, an innovative school health and nutrition programme, with our Kenyan partners at the Ogra Foundation.

HealthStart is unique because we address the holistic health of children at school by providing multiple health interventions as we believe that they improve the effectiveness of each when delivered together.

By providing a combination of interventions, including nutrition, clean water, malaria nets, de-worming, health education and school health policy development, we believe that the positive effects of each of these interventions has a longer-lasting impact on the health and educational outcomes of the children.

What was the pilot?

Over the past three years, provided HealthStart to over 2,000 children in two schools in Western Kenya. We’ve gathered lots of data on the health and performance of the children, which we use to measure the impact of our work.

The data we’ve recorded is one of the things that makes HealthStart particularly unique and I’m working with the HealthStart team at Ogra to make sure we have everything we need to evaluate the impact of the pilot programme and to tell the story of what HealthStart really means to the children, staff and wider communities.

What next?

Last week I met with the community members, including the schools’ Boards of Management and local government representatives to discuss what will happen when the pilot closes at the end of term.

There were some concerns about the programme coming to an end but the schools made promises to continue supporting the feeding programme with the help of the community. KOP and Ogra will be monitoring changes over the next few months.

I also facilitated a workshop with the HealthStart team. As the programme is closing, we’ll sadly be losing some team members and we wanted the chance to share all of our experiences and suggestions for the future of the programme. It was an interactive and fun session where we shared ideas, challenges and successes from all aspects of the pilot programme.

As we gather more feedback and the data comes in, we’re preparing a review of the pilot and starting to look at what the next phase of HealthStart might look like.

Once we’ve collated all of this information, we’ll be telling you all about it…and there’s plenty to get excited about!