Social entrepreneurs gathered this past December at the Social Innovation Summit to share lessons on how to create social good through technology and innovation. PSI Board Member and Global Health Corps co-founder Barbara Bush was one of the event’s featured speakers. Brian Sirgutz of the Huffington Post caught up with Barbara after the event to talk about technology and social good through the lens of global health.
Brian: Your supporters include top names in information technology, like Cisco and Hewlett Packard. (Note: Cisco sponsors the ImpactX section). Can you talk a little about those relationships and how they add to your mission?
We’ve actively worked to build relationships with non-traditional partners that share our values — innovators like Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Cisco who are leading the charge to build products and systems that connect communities, and increase information sharing.
Interestingly, global health organizations desperately need many of the skills employees at multi-national corporations like HP and Cisco have. Cisco employees who are experts in management information and technology systems have mentored some of our fellows working in Malawi with Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation to build out stronger electronic medical records and data tracking systems.
Hearing former UNAIDS head Peter Piot speak in 2008 sparked an idea within PSI board member Barbara Bush that led to the founding of the Global Health Corps. The volunteer organization places passionate global health volunteers around the world to support the work of hospitals, organizations and governments.
A story in Fast Company coExist profile’s the work of Bush and features comments from Adanna Chukwuma, a Nigerian Global Health Corps fellow working in Newark, New Jersey. Below is an excerpt, but you can read the whole article here.
PSI Board Member Barbara Bush co-founded the Global Health Corps (GHC) through the 2008 aids2031 Young Leaders Summit hosted by UNAIDS and Google. In the four years since the summit, GHC has continued to send talented volunteers to work with organizations like Partners in Health and PSI in countries like Rwanda, Uganda, the United Sates and Malawi.
Applications are now open for new corps members. This year, applicants can apply for 3 positions that match their interests and skills, from project management to monitoring and evaluation, engineering, communications and more. GHC says they are looking for people from a broad range of sectors and disciplines. No prior health experience is necessary! The only things we ask are that the applicants be 30 years old or younger, hold a university degree, and be proficient in English.
By Hiba Iqteit, Global Health Corps member with PSI/Rwanda. This originally appeared in the GHC blog.
Of all the things I thought I would be doing in Rwanda, selling condoms was not one. Through my work with Population Services International (PSI), I’ve been engaged at the forefront of condom marketing and sales across the country.
As one of its major initiatives, PSI works to fill a crucial gap in the Rwandan market, by selling and promoting condoms as a method for preventing sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, and HIV. Before PSI launched its programs in Rwanda, Rwandans had three options to acquire condoms: receiving them for free at public clinics, paying for expensive foreign brands, or purchasing low-cost condoms smuggled in from neighboring countries. Through careful market analysis, PSI concluded that free condoms are neither valued nor utilized, while the alternative quality brands were prohibitively expensive or illegal. As a result, condom use in Rwanda was low at best.
Burundi’s a tough place to talk about sex. That makes it an especially tough place to sell condoms. And that’s what my Global Health Corps co-fellow Dedo and I have been doing for the past six months with PSI/Burundi — working with their team on creative ways to market and improve the sales of Prudence Class condoms.
One of PSI/Burundi’s key target audiences is youth ages 15-24 years old. We reach youth through trainings, billboards, television spots, and radio shows to promote the correct use of condoms in order to prevent HIV and other STD’s, as well as unwanted pregnancies. But the challenges are pretty big. Sex is taboo, and people are generally embarrassed to talk – let alone touch – a condom. Youth frequently don’t know how to correctly use a condom, and are often too embarrassed to buy them at a local shop where parents or family may see them.
So, how do you connect with youth? How do you present a new face of your brand that’s cool, approachable and hip? How do you do it with pretty much zero resources? Dedo and I thought: flash mob. Definitely.
The Following post is by Leah Hazard, Communications Officer and Global Health Corps Fellow in Burundi.
Mwiriwe neza, ba jeune na mwebwe mwese bakunzi bikiganiro Tube Class. Ndikumwe hano na Fernand kugira tube turabateramisha kuruno musi mwiza wa gatandatu, aho muruhukiye, iwanyu canke kubagenzi banyu.
In a mixture of Kirundi, Swahili and French, Mimi starts the show: “Good afternoon youth and all of you fans of the show Tube Class. Whether you’re at your house or spending time with your friends, I’m here with my co-host Fernand to have a good time together on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.” Rihanna’s latest hit plays in the background.
Mimi is actually introducing a pretty revolutionary concept in Burundi: a youth radio show that talks openly about relationships, sex and health – in a fun and engaging manner. Tube Class (which translates to “Be Class” in English) aims to increase youth knowledge about how to protect themselves against STDs, HIV and unintended pregnancies. Prudence Class is PSI/Burundi’s condom brand, and was a name chosen because youth routinely use the word “class” as a substitute for being “cool” or “chic”. And in a country where talking about sex is taboo, and youth routinely report being too embarrassed to buy condoms, it’s an important subject.
PSI Board Member Barbara Bush kicked off the third and final day of the Social Good Summit in New York on Thursday. She discussed why she decided to create the Global Health Corps--an NGO she said is modeled on AmeriCorps. Check it out!
Watch live streaming video from mashable at livestream.com
PSI Board Member Barbara Bush discusses her NGO Global Health Corps, which aims to mobilize a global community of young leaders to build a movement for health equity. From a recent TEDx talk.
PSI announced four new members of its Board of Directors today. Welcome all!
Barbara Bush is currently serving as the President of Global Health Corps, an organization she co-founded in 2008. She’s traveled extensively in Africa, working with AIDS patients on nutrition and HIV prevention and treatment. In addition to being recognized as a Draper Richards Foundation Social Entrepreneur, she also sits on UNICEF's Next Generation Steering Committee and on the Board of Directors for Covenant House International.
Watch Barbara discuss the disparities in global health care at the National Press Club; read a profile of how the Global Health Corps seeks to engage millennials for global health equity; and view her PSA for marriage equality in the United States.
Professor David Bloom currently serves as the Director of the Harvard University Program on Global Demography and Aging and the Chair of the Department of Population and International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has published more than 200 articles and books in the fields of economics and demography and has been honored with a number of distinctions, including fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and the ... Read more
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