Home Institution

University of Denver

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Kenya: Islam and Swahili Cultural Identity


This study examines how nongovernmental organizations and community-based organizations in Lamu District interact with the governmentally structured health care system at the district level. This is done through participatory observation, interviews and removed observation of NGOs, CBOs and government officials. From these observations, this study then identifies major challenges faced by health NGOs that inhibit them from performing to the best of their ability, and at times even compromise the health of the people they are trying to help. The results of this study show that in Lamu District, the most relevant challenges are continuity of care, dissemination of information, working within an existing health care system and community and foreign skepticism. After looking at these challenges, their underlying causes are acknowledged to attempt to discern how exactly certain issues are created or exacerbated. These causes were found to be requirements of simultaneously satisfying both patients and donors, an overarching lack of ownership from both the community and the NGOs, and a lack of clear vision for many organizations. Finally, best practices are recommended to suggest various ways in which health organizations can prevent problems from occurring, minimize them or ameliorate them. These include Project Management Cycles and Concept Notes, as well as reversing the order in which nongovernmental organizations obtain funding and speak with district level government officials.


Health Policy | Public Health | Social Welfare


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