The following case studies illustrate the breadth and depth of our partnerships and represent just a small sample of a diverse and varied programme of funding.
Pears Foundation has supported NALA through its growth from a small volunteer program to a professional international organization. It is doing much more than fund NALA. The team’s professional guidance, the emphasis on partnership and the constant support in making the right links, as well as the consistent and flexible core cost support, have allowed NALA to professionalize, bring experts from diverse fields, innovate and create new and disruptive solutions to ongoing public health problems. With the Pears support, we are able to create a healthy environment to millions of school children in Ethiopia and their families, and build partnerships that scale our solutions with international public health partners such as Sightsavers International, DFID and the Gates Foundation.Michal Bruck
Chief Executive, NALA
It is rare to come across a global health problem for which we have already identified the solution. With the right resources and the backing of philanthropy, NALA and the communities with which it works will be able to bring an end to neglected tropical diseases.Sir Trevor Pears CMG
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as schistomiasis, intestinal worms and blinding trachoma affect more than a billion people worldwide and can cause severe and lifelong impairment. They are most prevalent in rural regions, poor urban areas and conflict zones and are a major cause of disabilities, such as preventable blindness.
Some public health challenges are too complex to be resolved quickly, but we know how to prevent, treat and eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases through medical treatments and interventions to promote sanitation and hygiene. Pears Foundation supports organisations working towards this including NALA, Sightsavers and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.
Founded in 2011, the Israeli organization NALA (Neglected Tropical Diseases Advocacy, Learning, Action) set out to eliminate neglected tropical diseases in Ethiopia and promote health as a way to fight poverty. NALA’s has created a holistic model that empowers communities to take charge in promoting behaviour change and improving access to water, sanitation, and hygiene, in line with our own commitment to understanding, engagement and wellbeing.
Although medical treatments exist, mass drug administration on its own is not enough to prevent NTDs. NALA’s approach complements mass drug administration programmes with four elements to prevent reinfection and inspire healthy changes:
- Behaviour change and hygiene promotion: NALA implements intensive health education at all levels with a special emphasis on children being health messengers for their schools and families. NALA’s school and community-based curricula use interactive methodologies and a participatory approach to inspire reflection, action and change.
- Community engagement and mobilisation: NALA engages community members and local stakeholders in all areas of programme implementation, from exploring the root causes of the diseases to improving infrastructure. The NALA team also provides mentorship and support for local leaders to spearhead health initiatives in their communities.
- WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) improvements: NALA’s WASH programmes give communities access to the infrastructure necessary to lead healthier lives. Without this basic infrastructure, including latrines and hand washing stations, it is hard to achieve meaningful behaviour change.
- Co-ordination between sectors: NALA coordinates with the Ethiopian government on multiple levels and across sectors (health, education, WASH). The team provides tools and trainings to increase inter-sectoral coordination and strengthen existing systems and processes.
To date NALA has reached millions of people in Ethiopia, working in numerous communities both on the ground and through technical assistance to local authorities.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, and with the support of Pears Foundation and several other partners, NALA was able to provide immediate support to communities all over Ethiopia. This included disease prevention messaging through social and mass media and support to community health professionals through personal protection equipment, training and the design and construction of over 100 Covid-19 safe foot-operated hand washing facilities.
Pears Foundation has supported NALA since 2013, providing more than £500,000 of mostly unrestricted funding. Our funding has allowed the organisation to grow, professionalise and develop the capacity to partner with a wide range of international and local partners including Sightsavers International.
The foundation also supported the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust from its inception in 2012 to its closure in 2020. The Trust’s time-limited programmes achieved a significant, sustainable reduction in avoidable blindness in Malawi, Kenya and Uganda.