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Working in low resource settings across the globe, Stema has identified common challenges to sustaining healthy communities

  1. Decision-making: because key decisions affecting health are made outside the community, the power to make good decisions is not in the hands of those who need it most – people at the frontline of health inequalities. Decisions are often without the local context in mind, or without full visibility because of the widespread lack of data.
  2. Access to information: data collection is expensive, burdensome, not fit-for-purpose, and the data is usually inaccessible to the community itself. Rich local knowledge is overlooked, because it doesn’t translate into accepted development indicators.
  3. Complexity: healthy communities are the result of complex, interlocking factors, but many health and development activities ignore complexity and are top-down, siloed, and linear – contributing to their failure, and resource waste.
  4. Resource waste: Despite foreign aid spending of over $161 billion USD annually, gross health inequalities persist and half the world still lacks access to essential healthcare. Interventions that are not developed and owned locally risk failure and waste resources.
  5. Engagement: communities feel like they don’t have the power to make decisions and mobilise local resources, trapping them in a donor/recipient mentality.

From these challenges, we have identified five key areas of disruption:

  1. Data: innovations in data science to make information about community health accessible, rapid, and translatable to policymakers
  2. Decision-making: a decision-support platform to facilitate better decisions for community health using local resources.
  3. Systems and design thinking: using systems and design thinking to tackle complexity. Sustainable, effective solutions come about because the entire community system is understood.
  4. Resourcefulness: An approach, framework and tools that enable communities to best mobilise existing resources or adapt external resources to improve their health and wellbeing.
  5. Participation: Encouraging engagement through accessible technology, local decisions, and valuing community knowledge and informal networks.

Our approach is:

  • Academic: translating cutting-edge insights across architecture, design, epidemiology, management, public health, and mathematics and articulating a set of principles that work.
  • Practical: partnering with communities and organisations in low resource settings around the world, to listen to what is needed and learn what works
  • Technology-driven: We aim to create effective technology that puts data and decision-making power into the hands of those who need it most

Could you benefit from our work, or help us to build our roadmap? We're looking for collaborators.