Authored by Brad Czerniak

The Health of People & Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) is a 3-year project in rural areas of the Lake Victoria Basin in Uganda and Kenya that aims to provide underserved families and communities with knowledge and skills to improve reproductive health, reduce levels of poverty through livelihoods_and sustainably manage local natural resources. In 2012, HoPE-LVB conducted a baseline study to inform project design and determine baseline values for key outcome indicators. The study included a household survey to assess community knowledge, attitudes and practices related to sectoral objectives; a participatory rural assessment (PRA) including transect walks, trend analyses, focus groups and priority scoring of project outcomes with targeted youth, elders, women and livelihood groups; a policy review; assessments of health facilities and systems; and a desk review of surrounding ecology. The baseline household survey found that community knowledge levels are high but practice levels are low for sectoral outcomes, and that engagement in community groups is high which suggested opportunities for implementing value-added population, health and environment activities. The policy review highlighted the existence of policies encouraging population, health and environment integration but lack of structures to facilitate implementation across sectors. The facility and health system assessments provided insights into factors affecting family planning and maternal health services. The PRA yielded information on the potential value-added that HoPE-LVB can generate, identifying increased income and access to quality health services as key priorities for the project and noting key challenges to uptake of positive health and conservation practices.