There are hundreds of thousands of non-profit organizations out there, many of them with international health goals or with an eye on eliminating poverty.
So why should you donate your time, money, or social media influence to this The Tia Foundation instead of another charity?
What makes Tia different? The answer is in the data.
It’s no fluke that Tia’s partners include the Thunderbird School of Global Management, or that Tia’s founder has a master’s degree in International Development and has studied risk management.
Data is at the root of everything we do.
From the very beginning, the mission, values, and structure of the Tia Foundation were carefully chosen based on data collected from an initial needs assessment study conducted before the Tia Foundation was officially established.
This study told us that the single most important factor for eliminating poverty in rural Mexico was access to better healthcare.
So that’s what we chose to focus on.
Tia Comes to Visit
Every community we work with gets several visits from Tia. First, we speak with local officials and residents to uncover the community’s most pressing issues. This might be high rates of diabetes, malnutrition, scorpion stings, or pregnancy complications.
We also investigate potential causes for these issues. One community that had the second highest rate of kidney failure in the world didn’t have access to clean water. Apparently, industrial factories upstream were dumping chemicals into the river, and community members had no other water supply available.
If the need for Tia is there, and the issues are ones Tia can help with, we work with locals to plan a week-long trip to address these issues with education, doctor’s visits, community organization, and more.
While our brigade doctors are treating patients in their own communities, our volunteers get to know community members and ask them to answer survey questions about personal hygiene, health, housing, access to water, and lifestyle. We also keep track of what we treat patients for.
The information we gather during these medical consultations helps us understand whether we’ve addressed the community’s most pressing needs. It also gives us accurate, unbiased, straight-from-the-source data on topics like access to education, healthcare, and basic utilities.
We use all this information as a baseline for our follow-up studies. After our brigade treats, teaches, and organizes a community, our work isn’t yet done. We head back to each area we’ve served to see how things have changed since we were there.
Are people practicing better hygiene? How many people have our Promotores treated? How many lives have they saved? Does the community feel empowered to address other core needs?
What kinds of things do we learn before, during, and after a visit from the Tia Brigade?
- High blood pressure and diabetes are the most common killers in Mexico and more than half the population over the age of 50 in communities where Tia works, have one or both.
- Malnutrition affects 52% of children in these communities. In fact, 18% of children are severely malnourished.
How Does Tia Help?
- Children/families washing their hands prior to handling or preparing food increased from zero to 52%
- 50% of children are brushing their teeth twice a day, up from 0%
- Blood pressure checks increased from once or twice a year to once a week for those with hypertension or diabetes
- 90% of pregnant women now take prenatal vitamins, up from about 10%
- Immigration to the U.S. drops 400% in communities that have access to programs like Tia’s
- 676 Community Health Workers (CHW) or Promotores have been trained by Tia
- Each Promotor(a) serves approximately 500 people
- More than 463,000 poor villagers now have access to health care services where none existed before
Data is one of the primary ways our donors, volunteers, and partners know they’re making a difference.
No matter how much information we gather before setting out with the Tia Brigade, however, there are always surprises.
Sometimes those surprises are tragic, like discovering one of our Promotoras is being abused at home, or that potato chips and soda are constitute a great lunch to send kids to school with every day.
But what makes all those long days spent working in the field worth it is learning that we’re changing far more than health practices in the remote communities we serve. We’re changing lives.
And as with many medications and procedures, there can be unforeseen side effects.
Long after Tia has left a community, we’ve seen:
- Promotores and community members organize themselves and set goals, like building rainwater-catching cisterns where water quality is an issue
- Residents lobby local governments for evening adult education programs so they can achieve the same level currently available to their children
- Organized chats on health topics that spun off into an embroidery guild and microenterprise for women who now sell their handiwork in a larger public market
- Communities form co-ops to pool their money and send a few residents to town for bulk veggies and meat that would otherwise be unavailable or too expensive where they live.
- Residents realize that setting goals and working together as a group, they can do almost anything.
It’s in the Numbers
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