Posted on October 16, 2001
1445 120th Avenue NE
PND NPO Spotlight (10/16/2001) -- VillageReach
VillageReach is an entrepreneurial, not-for-profit organization that proposes an innovative and comprehensive approach to improve access to health care and jumpstart economic development while protecting the environment in low-income countries.
VillageReach founder and president Blaise Judja-Sato was born in Cameroon, West Africa. As president of the Nelson Mandela Foundation in the United States, he has witnessed firsthand the suffering and death toll caused by preventable diseases and the threat they pose to social structures and economic growth. Many international organizations transport lifesaving vaccines and essential medical commodities into country capitals. However, decayed, unreliable, and inefficient logistics infrastructures make it difficult — if not impossible — to reach children and their parents in rural and remote communities.
The idea behind VillageReach is to strengthen the ability of governments to build, operate, and maintain sustainable infrastructures that "go the last mile."
VillageReach is working with The Foundation for Community Development (FDC) and the Government of Mozambique to establish a pilot program in the province of Cabo Delgado. The region is extremely poor and has a population of 1.5 million people whose livelihoods revolve around agriculture and fishing. Once this program is established, VillageReach intends to expand into other parts of the developing world.
VillageReach seeks to improve the reliability, cost efficiency, and availability of health commodities storage and transport in an effort to support the provision of health services to rural populations. The organizations plans to train local staff to properly handle and deliver commodities, monitor performance and quality, maintain equipment, and collect and dispose of used syringes and needles. VillageReach also plans to spark local economic development through innovative partnerships. For example, it is working with local entrepreneurs to build a fuel distribution network, and it plans to work with local partners to slow down deforestation by introducing fuels other than wood and charcoal.
VillageReach has been featured in the Wharton Alumni Magazine and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as the "FedEx of Remote Medical Care," and several governments have invited VillageReach to set up programs in their countries. The organization has built a powerful network of corporate and philanthropic partners.
The VillageReach Web site provides detailed information on its approach to sharing health and creating wealth in remote areas. It also offers background information on health issues in developing countries, press releases from the organization, and information on how to help further VillageReach's mission.
Donors include The Bill & Melinda Gates Children's Vaccine Program, the Craig and Susan McCaw Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), HealthTech, and Teledesic. VillageReach seeks to raise $1.4 million to establish and run the program for its first full year of operation. A total of $4 million is required for the first five years.