Empowering 50,000 Community Health Workers with Digital Tools by 2021: Living Goods and Last Mile Health Revealed Plans for The Audacious Project at annual TED Conference

Empowering 50,000 Community Health Workers with Digital Tools by 2021: Living Goods and Last Mile Health Revealed Plans for The Audacious Project at annual TED Conference

[VANCOUVER, April 11, 2018] It was revealed today that a joint initiative between Living Goods and Last Mile Health – two organizations working to make healthcare available to all through mobile technology – is part of the first class of The Audacious Project. Replacing what was formerly known as the TED Prize, which annually provided $1 million to a leader with bold ideas who could help solve some of the world’s most intractable problems, The Audacious Project is a groundbreaking philanthropic initiative that aims to fuel projects with the potential to create massive, global change. Last Mile Health’s CEO Raj Panjabi won the TED Prize in 2017 and launched the Community Health Academy, a global platform to train, empower, and connect health workers and leaders.

Together, Last Mile Health and Living Goods will deploy 50,000 digitally-empowered community health workers (CHWs) to provide lifesaving healthcare to 34 million people across six countries in East and West Africa by 2021. Not only will this partnership create jobs and expand access to life-saving healthcare, but we also have the potential to transform community health systems and the delivery of care through digital technology. The Audacious Project is made possible by a coalition of funders including the Skoll Foundation, Virgin Unite, ELMA, CIFF, The Bridgespan Group, and more. This coalition of funders, among others, has committed a $50 million matching grant to the partnership. The funding will be split between Living Goods and Last Mile Health, and the organizations will need to secure 1:1 match funding in order to unlock this catalytic support from The Audacious Project.

“For all of human history, illness has been universal and access to care has not. But no condition is permanent. Due to the support of The Audacious Project, we now have the opportunity to operationalize a plan on the scale of this problem,” said Raj Panjabi, CEO and co-founder of Last Mile Health. Introduced to the stage by celebrated actor Morgan Freeman, Panjabi spoke at The Audacious Project session at the 2018 TED Conference alongside the other awardees. Living Goods and Last Mile Health’s partnership, as well as One Acre Fund, were both inaugural initiatives of The Audacious Project, and the success of these projects helped spur the creation of the philanthropic initiative. The 2018 cohort includes The Bail Project, Environmental Defense Fund, GirlTrek, Sightsavers, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In total, the coalition of funders supporting The Audacious Project have raised over $250 million to help power the inaugural round of big ideas. This commitment has catalyzed additional funding from the projects’ network. To date, The Audacious Project has over $400 million committed towards its $634 million goal.

“This is a new and bold chapter in philanthropic collaboration,” said Anna Verghese, Director of The Audacious Project. “Having spent a decade mobilizing globally impactful projects with the TED Prize, we now have a coalition ready to support some of the world’s most heroic and devoted social entrepreneurs as they’re asked to dream and collaborate at the most transformative scale possible. The 2018 recipients are forcefully leading the charge in tackling global warming, social injustices, disease and health care. Collectively confronting these daunting challenges is what The Audacious Project is all about and our team is here to support this critical work.”

Living Goods and Last Mile Health’s groundbreaking partnership will leverage two digital innovations to accomplish their shared vision. First, CHWs will be equipped with Living Goods’ Smart Health App, co-developed with Medic Mobile, which automates diagnoses of the deadliest conditions, and captures accurate, real-time data to manage thousands of far-flung health workers. Second, they are revolutionizing the training of health workers and leaders worldwide through Last Mile Health’s new Community Health Academy, which was the 2017 TED Prize project. The Academy will establish the world’s first digital education platform for CHWs and the leaders who support them. The Academy will offer free mobile training for CHWs and a suite of management courses for health leaders, all supported with in-country technical assistance.

“Virtually every other sector – from books, to retail, to taxis – has been positively reinvented by mobile technology. Now it’s time for technology to reinvent community health care on a game-changing scale by transforming ordinary women and men into life-saving community health workers,” said Chuck Slaughter, founder of Living Goods.

Last Mile Health and Living Goods both have significant experience leveraging disruptive technology to transform health systems. Last Mile Health played a vital role in helping to contain the spread of the Ebola virus by supporting the Liberian government in training more than 1,500 CHWs to manage critical health needs. Now, they are currently training an additional 4,000 CHWs alongside the Government of Liberia in a historic National Community Health Assistant Program that will reach 1.2 million people. Active in Uganda and Kenya, Living Goods is enabling basic health care for 6 million people, and has shown through a Randomized Control Trial that its model reduces child deaths by 27%. Together, Last Mile Health and Living Goods are working to advance a digitally-empowered CHW model alongside partners in government and philanthropy to advance our shared vision of a health worker for everyone, everywhere.

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For more information, visit: www.LivingGoods.org, www.lastmilehealth.org and www.audaciousproject.org

Last Mile Health: Siobhan Kelley, Communications Manager at siobhan@lastmilehealth.org or +1-802-735-7841.

Living Goods: Jennifer Hyman, Communications Director at jhyman@livinggoods.org or +1-202-997-2454

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