Interview with Deo of Village Health Works

Video removed on the request of Village Health Works.

Isaac Holeman chats with Deo, the Executive Director of Village Health Works in Burundi, about his clinic in Kigutu supported by Partners In Health, what the need is (Burundi is the poorest country in the world according to a 2006 World Bank report), and where he hopes to take the project in the future. If it isn’t conveyed in the interview, Deo has had a tremendously lucky life that he’s taken full advantage of. At the conference Isaac and I attended last week, we were fortunate to hear Deo speak on two occasions, a panel on “How Poverty Enters the Body” and a Saturday keynote. The PIH bio on Deo is another good source of information on his experiences and current work.

A couple of notes on from my end. First, apologies for the shakiness. I’ve learned that, for Flip interviews over 5 minutes, tripods are a must. Second, I didn’t realise at the time how distracting the background noise would be. We’ll make sure to find a quiet place next time.

Presentation: Reinventing Direct Action

I’m giving this presentation today as a part of a panel at a global health weekend my friend Alex Goodell spent a significant amount of time putting together. The conference is “You Can’t Crush a Louse with Only One Thumb: Integrating Biomedical & Sociocultural Approaches to HIV/AIDS in Africa” and my panel focuses on student experiences in these issues.

To make this interesting, I’ll be arguing that both the university system and standard practices in international development are broken, and that, more importantly, there are ways to fix each which will create more desirable future. It’s not about who should be to blame, but rather how the methods for each can be improved. One of these days, I’ll start producing second version of my presentations that include more narrative text too (I’m too much of a minimalist to include extensive text on my slides). Because the Oregon Direct Action project ended before implementation, I also hope to do a retrospect post on what worked and what didn’t work in the effort.

Whitman Direct Action has been active recently, first posting an update about their most recent project, The Transnational Community Development, and then reporting on meetings with a couple of the NGOs they’re supporting.

I’ve also uploaded a PDF of the report we produced last spring, titled “Developing Water.” Through a series of surveys, focus groups, and interviews, we took a look at the socio-cultural constraints to clean water access in the Kolwan Valley. It isn’t necessarily anything groundbreaking if you’ve been working in the sector, but it does serve as a pretty legit primer to water access issues in India.