Lwala Community Alliance
Lwala Community Alliance is a Kenyan founded health, education and development agency. The various programs in healthcare, education, and micro- enterprise have rapidly grown since 2007 to serve a population of more than 20,000 people in rural, Migori County, Kenya. Lwala Community Alliance is geographically focused in the Lake Victoria region because the location is known for its challenges. For example, the HIV prevalence rates in Migori County are triple the national average for Kenya. At the same time, the work has importance well beyond Migori County. By documenting results and processes and sharing these publicly and through collaboration with peer organizations, Lwala fosters transferability to other similar settings. Lwala's programming is holistic, with projects and staff in education, clinical care, public health outreach, and economic development. This fits the stated vision for “wholeness of life in Lwala and beyond.” Since poverty is multi-dimensional, creating wholeness demands a multi-dimensional approach to development. In short, Lwala aims to be a Kenyan innovator, focused on community-based change in a region known for its acute development needs and sharing lessons and results from this region to promote change in rural Africa more generally.
When a family in Lwala, Kenya, is affected by a health challenge, like HIV, they are simultaneously impacted by financial instability and educational barriers. Their communities are not looking for vertical solutions or silver bullets. They see the causes of poor health as complex and nuanced – so do they. It’s not enough to run a stellar health facility, so Lwala also delivers services in people’s homes, fields, and schools.
Founded by Drs. Milton and Fred Ochieng’, brothers from their community, thedesign, implementation, and evaluation of their programs continue to be driven by the communities they benefit. They employ more than 180 staff from their region and follow human-centered design and participatory approaches. They source, measure, and share bottom-up innovations that yield lasting change, reinforcing the value.
Not only are they impacting the communities they serve, they are reforming systems. Their education programs are delivered by 17 government-owned and -operated schools. Their health facility is an integrated part of the county’s health system – delivering services and collecting data in partnership with local government. Their economic programs are built off market-based models and, after their initial investment, run independently.
The documentary “Sons of Lwala” follows their founders, Milton and Fred Ochieng’ on their journey from their home village of Lwala, Kenya to medical school in the United States, and back home to build Lwala’s first health clinic.
Barry Simmons was a local television reporter in Nashville, Tennessee when he met Milton over coffee one day in December 2005. By the second cup he began to consider leaving his job to see where Milton’s story would lead. Two years of unemployment, hundreds of video tapes, one night in a Kenyan jail, and cases of ramen noodles later, Barry had directed and produced the full length documentary “Sons of Lwala,” which tells Milton and Fred’s story from the inception of their father’s dream, through their mother and father’s deaths, to the opening day of the Ochieng’ Memorial Lwala Community Health Center.See more