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CommCare Research Grant Awardee One Year Checkin: Move Up Global | Winner - Dimagi

We can’t believe it’s been a year since we launched the first CommCare Grant for Frontline Research! To mark the completion of the first year, we’re excited to share insights from a few of the awardees.

We’ll begin with the first-place winner Move Up Global, a nonprofit based in Boston, dedicated to improving health outcomes, especially for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and malnutrition, amongst school-aged children in rural Rwanda, the birthplace of Move Up Global founder Anatole Manzi.

Move Up Global applied to the Grant with their study assessing non-biomedical parameters of NTDs and malnutrition among school-aged children in rural Rwanda. Evidence from their study is intended to inform community stakeholders and the Rwandan Ministry of Health on how to leverage community health workers and schools to ensure proper diagnosis and management of NTDs, as well as strengthen NTD case surveillance and reporting.

When the grant kicked off, we had the opportunity to ask Manzi about Move Up Global, its aims and research, as well as his CommCare experience and the devastating impact of NTDs – something he witnessed and suffered from while growing up in Rwanda. 

As a child, Manzi experienced the consequences of NTDs firsthand: “I describe myself as an NTD survivor turned fighter! Growing up in rural Rwanda these conditions used to define what I would do the next day. In wrenching pain due to intestinal parasites, I would lie down on the roadside until I could stand again.”  Left untreated, NTDs such as intestinal worms – the most common NTD among children in Africa –– can lead to cognitive impairment or even extreme malnutrition and death in severe cases.

Manzi’s personal experiences and the staggering statistics – an estimated +1.5 billion people globally (~24% of the world’s population) are infected with NTDs –inspired him to found Move Up Global. This health crisis is particularly acute in Africa, where nearly half of the population is younger than 18 – the demographic most affected by NTDs.

Move Up Global aims to improve access to health in remote, resource-constrained communities primarily through partnerships with public schools. They view schools as “the perfect hub for sparking change and improving both health and educational outcomes” but recognize that the lack of connection between schools and health systems is a persistent and critical challenge.  

To address this disconnect between schools and health systems, Move Up Global implements their Ipfundo (“The Knot”) Framework. In their model, schools and teachers become the center for community transformation: in resource constrained settings, rather than nurses or health workers, it is teachers who actually play a key role in student health, as they are often the first to identify cases of NTDs as well as malnutrition and other poverty-related conditions. 

Move Up Global has been using CommCare to conduct surveys to screen NTDs and malnutrition at primary schools, as well as to assess household food insecurity. They will then analyze their data to understand factors associated with NTDs, malnutrition, and stunting among school-aged children. 

We’ll report back on Move Up Global’s year with CommCare to share their insights and results. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments about Move Up Global or this study, please share it on our new Research Community of Practice.



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