Earth Clinic Seed Funding Competition Year 2009 - 2010

Earth Clinic Seed Funding Competition Year 2009 - 2010

In order to help achieve the goals of the Earth Clinic, a competition for project seed money was held. The Earth Clinic Steering Committee received 14 proposals. The proposals were reviewed by the Earth Clinic Steering Committee and 5 proposals were recommended for funding totaling $141,580. Information on the funded projects is below.
Contact: Andrew Ferguson, Associate Research Scientist, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Title of Project: The prevalence of fecal microorganisms on hands and their relationship with age, Are Children the main vector?
Scope of Project: Over the last twenty years, numerous studies have evaluated the effectiveness of water quality and sanitation interventions to reduce the prevalence of diarrheal disease in developing countries. Personal interventions were deemed more effective in reducing diarrheal disease than source-based interventions. In fact, when done correctly handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable disease. In this handwashing study, we intend to identify which age groups play a role as vectors in the transmission of fecal microorganisms by hand-to-hand contact and thereby identify where future behavior change efforts should be focused.
Contact: Malgosia Madajewicz, Associate Research Scientist, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, The Earth Institute
Title of Project: Using climate information to control malaria: the case of Botswana
Scope of Project: The Malaria Early Warning and Response System (MEWS), developed by partners in the Roll Back Malaria Global partnership, offers a unique opportunity to demonstrate the potential of an application based on climate science to promote sustainable development by reducing the burden of disease. The system, implemented since 2000 in southern African countries, uses environmental monitoring and seasonal forecasts to identify areas which face heightened risk of a malaria epidemic. We will examine what effect MEWS in Botswana has had on the incidence of malaria, and what lessons the experience with MEWS offers for other places affected by epidemic malaria or other climate-sensitive diseases. The goal is to advance the use of science-based tools that can reduce the global burden of diseases whose occurrence is sensitive to climate conditions.
Contact: Ahmed Mohamed, Team Leader of Millennium Villages Project–Dertu, Kenya, and Fatuma Shide, Science Coordinator of Millennium Villages Project–Dertu, Kenya
Title of Project: Integrated Mobile Health Outreach Services for the Marginalized Majority in the Arid Sub Saharan Africa
Scope of Project: The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) place health at the heart of development because better health is a prerequisite for economic growth and social cohesion. The Millennium Villages Project (MVP), a project of Columbia’s Earth Institute, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with the Government of Kenya and other partners, executes integrated activities in order to support governments in achieving the MGDs by 2015. Dertu Millennium Village has been selected to represent all pastoral communities in Arid Africa. Health activities executed by the MVP-Dertu include supplementation of essential drugs, distribution of LLITN bed net, boost health personnel, treatment against infectious diseases, reproductive health, improvement of sanitation and nutrition, development and renovation of health facilities and monthly mobile health integrated outreach for the pastoralists. This project will support the outreach services necessary to reach over 60% of the population within Dertu and the neighboring villages. This project will also compare cost effectiveness and convenience of conventional and other existing medical service provision approaches and the Millennium monthly mobile integrated health outreach services.
Contact: Pedro Sanchez, Director, Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program, The Earth Institute, and Patrick Mutuo, Science Coordinator and Team Leader for the Millennium Villages Project, The Earth Institute
Title of Project: Fruit Trees Production and Other Similar High Value Crops to Support More Than 11,000 Farmers in The Sauri Millennium Villages, Kenya
Scope of Project: The Earth Clinic project will support fruit trees’ production and other similar high value crops to cover at least 11,000 farmers under this initiative in The Sauri Millennium Villages. The objective of the project is to develop, disseminate and increase farmers’ access to technology on fruit tree growing, and high quality fruit tree planting materials. As part of trainings, farmers will be taken for educational visit to best practicing fruit tree farmers and the project’s central fruit tree nursery. In the last quarter of the year, farmers will be trained on scions harvesting techniques, grafting and crop protection. Data will be collected on number or quantity of fruits consumed at the household level and quantities sold. A sustainable marketing strategy including value addition will be designed in this regard. Success of the project will be determined by the retention of farmers maintaining fruit tree nurseries, orchards and the amount of additional income derived from the fruit trees production.
Contact: Lex van Geen, Doherty Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, The Earth Institute
Title of Project: Community Participation to Lower Arsenic Exposure More Effectively in Bangladesh
Scope of Project: Groundwater pumped from approximately half the 10 million tubewells in Bangladesh do not meet the WHO guideline for arsenic of 10 ug/L. Millions of villagers continue to drink groundwater containing elevated levels of arsenic from their own well water even though safe water is often available from other wells located within walking distance. To date, the most common form of arsenic mitigation has involved an outsider coming once into a village to test tubewells for arsenic and then leaving. This lack of follow-up at the local level, we hypothesize, is an important factor limiting the impact of arsenic mitigation, especially when you consider the many untested wells that continue to be installed. This project seeks to test the hypothesis that, conditional on equal provision of financial resources, training local village-health workers to routinely perform arsenic testing is more effective in terms of reducing exposure than less frequently deploying outside testers.