A Ugandan-Run Health Project
Kolé Kenneth arap Wasawas ’13, Director, Afya Bora International
Kolé Kenneth arap Wasawas: Political Science and Philosophy major
Driven to find a way to bring better medical care to the rural Ugandan village where he grew up, Kolé Kenneth arap Wasawas entered Seattle Pacific University intending to be a pre-med student. But he soon found himself drawn to debates about global health and international aid through political science and philosophy courses.
“Health care has been my passion for a long time,” he says. “But poor governance can affect a village.”
In the summer of 2011, Wasawas, a pastor’s son, got together with several fellow Ugandan Christians to discuss how they could use their education and skills to improve health care.
Banding together, they formed Afya Bora, which means “good health” in Swahili, now a registered charity in the U.S. and Uganda. Their goal is to train 1,200 health volunteers to keep health records and provide health education across Kapchorwa District — Wasawas’ home district. So far, the organization has recruited about 500 volunteers. They will coordinate with trained clinicians to help bring care to Ugandans who may live a day’s walk from the nearest hospital or clinic. Eventually, they’d like to open a new clinic in Kapchorwa. Right now, only one doctor serves 300,000 people.
The recent graduate used his research skills gained at SPU to help structure the fledgling nonprofit organization. Though Afya Boya works with U.S. supporters and has an international board, it’s a mutual partnership — with Ugandans taking the lead.