Eradicating neglected tropical diseases in Ethiopia

Pears Foundation has supported NALA through its growth from a small volunteer program to a professional international organisation. 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

Partner since: 2013

Funding invested: £784,000

  • Core: Unrestricted funding; Covid-19 response

Some public health challenges are too complex to be resolved quickly, but there are others for which the solution is in our sights.

Neglected Tropical Diseases 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.

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 2012 the Israeli organization NALA (Neglected Tropical Diseases Advocacy, Learning, Action) aims to eliminate neglected tropical diseases in Ethiopia. It does this by empowering communities to take charge in promoting behaviour change and improving their access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

NALA’s approach combines mass drug administration programmes with four additional 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.
  • Community engagement and mobilisation
    NALA engages community members and local stakeholders. The NALA team also provides mentorship and support for local leaders to spearhead health initiatives in their communities.
  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) improvements
    NALA’s WASH programmes give communities access to the infrastructure necessary to lead healthier lives.
  • Co-ordination between sectors
    NALA coordinates with the Ethiopian government on multiple levels.

To date NALA has reached millions of people in Ethiopia, working directly in communities and through technical assistance to local authorities.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, NALA was able to apply its knowledge of fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases and provide immediate support to communities all over Ethiopia. This included disease prevention messaging through social and mass media and support to community health professionals.

Our core funding has helped NALA to professionalise and develop the capacity to partner with a wide range of international and local partners including Sightsavers International.

Pears 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.