It has been a long time since I have posted to this blog. Writing has been on my to-do list but keeps getting buried amongst other tasks. The past few months of the fellowship have been very busy and challenging but also hugely rewarding and fullfilling. My fellowship project has focused on rolling out CHHIP – an innovative approach to school health. To support this work and create a platform for catalyzing change in the future, this I have co-founded Broadleaf Health and Education Alliance.
Broadleaf HEA is a registed 501(3)c non-profit dedicated to developing innovative approaches to community development through health and education in rural areas of the Eastern Himalaya.
The Eastern Himalayas [Northeast India, Bhutan, and Eastern Nepal] is a stunningly beautiful and diverse region. However, the residents of rural communities throughout this region are facing stagnant economies, poor infrastructure, and failing public health and education systems. The difficult terrain and remoteness hinder prospects for development and growth. Particularly in Northeast India, there are only a handful of international NGOs attempting to tackle these problems.
Within India, development money and the technical expertise tends to flow elsewhere. The Northeast is viewed as too ‘politically unstable’ and ‘sensitive’ to operate in; and the challenges facing other regions of India have been much better captured and communicated. This is evident even in AIF, where my placement in Darjeeling is the farthest into the northeast than any previous fellow has been placed.
Given this defined need, we see a space for Broadleaf where we can contribute to improving the lives of inhabitants in rural and marginalized communities. Broadleaf seeks to channel our techincal expertise and resources to helping to develop solutions to the challenges faced by these communities. Our first venture – CHHIP – is an example of our approach. CHHIP is being developed as an innovatie, evidence-based and scalable model for school health.
So far this experience has been exhilerating (and a bit exhausting). CHHIP and Broadleaf have consumed all my passions and energy. I have been challenged to develop new skills in leadership, management, and strategic thinking. The opportunity to share this process with my wife and close friends has been amazing and the interactions with our partner communities inspiring.
I am excited to see where this journey leads both myself and Broadleaf. I invite you to join along!