“To alleviate human suffering by bringing improved healthcare and clean water to those in need—one village at a time”
Health encompasses many facets of life including water access, disease prevention and treatment, literacy, nutrition, and a sense of wellbeing. We work with Maasai communities and local health officials to develop community driven healthcare projects which have a lasting impact on those in need. To develop these projects, we make community visits, listening to the concerns of the Maasai and local healthcare professionals. As a team effort, action plans are developed and implementation of projects are coordinated. The dynamics of improving community health are complex. Thus, KHCI is involved in a range of healthcare projects tailored to each community.
KHCI is an all-volunteer nonprofit whose goal is to maximize the use of donor dollars for programs. All trips to Kenya and site visits to locations are paid for by the individual participants and no donor funds are used for this purpose.
In 2008, Ralph F. Stroup, MD travelled to Kenya to help facilitate an HIV/AIDS training workshop for Kenyan health care workers with the goal of developing community action plans to cope with the disease. While there, Dr. Stroup was invited by local Maasai leaders to visit a number of very remote primary health care clinics, some were empty shells in need of completion, and others were in danger of closing because of funding. The abject poverty, lack of access to clean water, state of existing health care facilities and the great needs of the people touched Dr. Stroup deeply. He returned to the United States committed to help the Maasai in this remote and impoverished region.
Kenyan Health Care Initiatives (KHCI; a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit) founded to address the needs identified by Dr. Stroup and local Maasai leaders of the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch to improve public health. Our projects are community driven. This means establishing detailed needs assessments based on a combination of local and governmental input to develop an action plan. KHCI has adopted a comprehensive strategy including infrastructure development and public outreach to improve Maasai pastoralists’ lives.
Dr. Ralph F. Stroup is president and CEO of Kenyan Health Care Initiatives, Inc., a certified 501 (c) 3 nonprofit corporation and the co-director of the Connecticut Chapter of Days for Girls. Dr. Stroup is an Assistant Clinical Professor in Urology at the Yale School of Medicine. For more than 30 years, Dr. Stroup was in private Urology practice in New Haven, CT. Throughout his career he was an active member of the Yale Medical School teaching program. He currently works as a part time faculty member in charge of the Urology Residents’ clinic at Yale New Haven Hospital. In April 2011, as part of the American Urological Association Circumcision Task Force he traveled to Swaziland as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) HIV/AIDS prevention program. He has been working in Kenya since 2008 and is the founder of KHCI.
Mary Ann Stroup RN, MBA is the secretary, treasurer and board member of KHCI. Mary Ann is the founder and co-director of the Connecticut Chapter of Days for Girls. From her nursing administrator background at Yale New Haven Hospital and the West Haven Veterans Hospital she has extensive experience in management organization and healthcare delivery. Her school nursing experience within several Connecticut school systems provides her with the skillset needed to deal with many areas in public health. Her MBA in management, work experience and volunteerism have been instrumental in program development, fundraising and networking for KHCI.
The Il Ngwesi Group Ranch (the local governing body), established by the Kenyan Government, is a legal entity with a board of directors to unite and govern a regional group of pastoralists. The group ranch consists of more than 9,000 people spread over more than 22,000 acres. Their organization was recognized by the United Nations Equator Initiative as one of the most effective grass roots organizations in Africa for successfully implementing a number of projects including HIV/AIDS educational programs which has dramatically reduced the incidence of HIV/AIDS in this region. They have made tremendous strides in the areas of HIV Aids, environmental sensitivity, training healthcare workers, education, water initiatives and economic development. KHCI assessments, planning, and prioritization are done in conjunction with the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch and the Government of Kenya. The interface between the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch and KHCI has been very effective with established accountability and trust, since 2008.
Village Elders are the major decision makers within each village. Under their direction they establish and oversee the village committee structure. They interface with the Board of Directors, villagers and others working in the areas of health, water, education, agriculture and economic development. Committee members are comprised of both men and women and are elected from each community to serve.
Lela Kinyaga is the chairman of the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch Board of Directors. In his charismatic and forward thinking approach to problem solving, he leads members of the ranch to embrace change, while preserving many of the cultural traditions so important to the Maasai.
Saaya Tema is a community leader who received a degree in economics in Nairobi, Kenya. Saaya has applied his vision to coordinate healthcare efforts and infrastructure improvements within the Group Ranch. His work has resulted in a pronounced reduction in HIV/AIDS related issues with in Maasai communities.
Patrick Leresi is the administrator for the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch. He frequently travels between Villages acting to coordinate among the communities within the Group Ranch. He works as a liaison with government officials, healthcare providers and with KHCI to coordinate and execute projects among the villages.
Sammy Mayani is the coordinator for Women’s Economic Initiatives for the Group Ranch. This includes the Days for Girl’s Program, Beadwork Enterprise and overseeing Microeconomic loans. Sammy is a graduate of the University of Nairobi majoring in commerce and accounting. Upon returning home he taught in the secondary schools in Ethi and Chumvi, communities within the group ranch.
Martha Maleson RN, was the first nurse to work alongside KHCI. Martha is a strong leader, with a thirst for knowledge and is driven to improve life within her community. Thanks to the support of KHCI she was able to return to school to receive her BSN while she continued to work. She is now certified to do cervical cancer screenings. In 2015 she was selected to attend the Sabatia Eye Hospital for a three month training and is certified to be an ophthalmic nurse assistant enabling her to do advance screenings for trachoma, cataract and acuity. Martha has completely embraced the Days for Girls program, has established health teaching programs in the schools and beyond and is an integral part of the KHCI health team. Her love of nursing stems comes from the relationship she had with her own school nurse. Martha says, “The passion to serve the sick is deep rooted in my heart”. She truly lives by this code.
George Wangai is a committed and inspiring teacher and leader at the Chumvi Primary School. He is the KHCI health liaison for the Chumvi Clinic and School to enhance health education for all and is building a model to be used in all schools. George is the American Friends of Kenya (501 (c) 3) network leader for Chumvi and Lokusero area schools including eight primary schools, one polytechnic school and sixteen preschools of sixteen. He bring teachers together to discuss teaching methods, and ways to share limited resources and is establishing a rotating library among schools whose books have been donated by AFK. George does this on a volunteer basis and these programs are supported by KHCI.
Benendetta Tingio Kurinta is the elected leader of the Chumvi, Kenya Days for Girls Enterprise. She has received formal training from the Days for Girls University in Uganda where she has acquired sewing, marketing, business and DFG Ambassador Training in health. She is respected by her peers and passionate about her work.
KHCI Board of Directors
Joseph A. Camilleri, MD, is a board certified urologist in private practice in New Haven, CT. and an active teacher for the Yale Department of Urology.
Dylan S. Stroup has an undergraduate degree in finance and economics, has participated in site visits to the areas in Kenya supported by KHCI, and works for AXA Financial in Bethlehem, PA.
R. Bruce Williams is an independent educational consultant who travels worldwide facilitating educational workshops, and has had over35years’ experience working with non-profits. Bruce has worked in Kenya and with the group ranch for many years. He currently teaches at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. In addition, he is currently facilitating educational workshops in China.
Jennifer Briggs is a retired administrator with experience as a research biochemist, volunteer coordinator at the Yale Peabody Museum, and secretary in charge of a Yale undergraduate resident hall. She has extensive volunteer experience with charitable organizations. Jenny is part of the Leadership committee for the Ct Chapter of Days for Girls. She is a longtime supporter of KHCI.
Joan Morrison has been an RN for over 30 years, is an Associate Professor of Nursing at Gateway Community College in New Haven, CT and has supported KHCI initiatives for many years. My interest in KHCI stems from hearing Ralph speak at church and his introduction of a nurse named Martha who practiced at an LPN level and needed financial support to become an RN. As a nurse educator, I related to her story and the opportunity to support an individual whose professional growth would serve so many. Now I look forward to the day when I can meet her and see the work she is doing with the backing of KHCI.