NEW YORK, NY, April 16, 2018 – The J.C. Flowers Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca J. Vander Meulen as Executive Director. Vander Meulen will succeed Susan Lassen who will become Chairman. In addition, Vander Meulen will oversee the Anne and Chris Flowers Foundation.
Vander Meulen will manage the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, which supports malaria elimination programs in Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. She will also oversee the Harlem Circles of Support Initiative, which focuses on successful reentry of people coming home from prison to Harlem, New York.
Vander Meulen has served as the Isdell:Flowers Senior Director for Africa since 2017. For the past 15 years, she was the Community Development Director in the Anglican Diocese of Niassa (northern Mozambique) where she oversaw the formation of more than 400 social action groups comprising more than 10,000 community volunteers.
“Rebecca’s extensive experience in mobilizing and supporting ‘last mile’ communities will contribute to the mission of the J.C. Flowers Foundation as we address critical health and social problems affecting vulnerable populations,” said Chris Flowers, Founder of the J.C. Flowers Foundation.
In 2003, Vander Meulen earned a Master’s in Public Health in International Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, which in 2009 awarded her with the Matthew Lee Girvin Young Alumni Award in recognition of her dedication to the field of public health and her significant contributions toward improving the lives and health of others. She is also a graduate of Calvin College and a recipient of the St. Mellitus Medal, Order of St Mellitus, conferred by the Bishop of London in recognition of her HIV and community development work in the Diocese of London’s partner Diocese of Niassa.
“I am delighted to join the J.C. Flowers Foundation as Executive Director,” said Vander Meulen. “I look forward to walking alongside those in Harlem and in Africa who are transforming their communities, and to facilitating dialogue between policy-makers and communities.”
Vander Meulen will begin her new role on July 1, 2018, and be located in New York.
J.C. Flowers Foundation Executive Director, Susan Lassen, recently spoke with Inside Philanthropy about the Foundation's founders, Chris and Anne Flowers. The article highlights the commitment of Chris and Anne to support "last mile" communities often overlooked by traditional donors.
"Anne and Chris are very unusual because they travel, and they visit, and they sit under the tree, and they listen to the story," Susan says. The foundation has over 1,000 volunteers who they've trained and who work on malaria in their communities. "It's an amazing network," she says.
Read the full article here.
Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative Round Table Meeting to be Held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative is preparing for its annual Round Table meeting, taking place in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on March 1st and 2nd.
The meeting will bring together leading malaria scientists, nonprofit, government, and faith-based partners, as well as field staff from the border regions of Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This year's meeting will focus on new and emerging tools and strategies for malaria elimination.
Over the past decade, the SADC region has steadily progressed towards malaria elimination. However, many countries have experienced recent outbreaks and stalled progress. Through productive debate and discussion, the Initiative hopes to:
This December, the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative worked in partnership with the Zambian Ministry of Health and MACEPA to support the training of more than 180 Community Health Workers (CHWs). These CHWs will be at the forefront of malaria elimination efforts in some of the hardest to reach communities in Western Province, Zambia.
The Lusaka Times reported on the importance of the training. To read the article, click here.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu Highlights Return on Investment for Malaria Spending during United Nations General Assembly
Heads of State pledged new political and financial support for malaria elimination during last month's United Nations General Assembly in New York, as reported by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
Investing in malaria elimination saves lives and strengthens economies. In his remarks, Zambian President Edgar Lungu stated, "Every US$ 1 invested in malaria control in Africa, on average, returns US$ 40 in economic growth, contributing to the continent’s prosperity."
Read more about the recent commitments here.
Chris Flowers, Co-Founder of the Isdell: Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, was recently interviewed for an article on malaria elimination in Southern Africa, published in Development Finance. Read below for a small excerpt, and read the full article here.
"In Angola and Namibia people cross the border frequently. 'You can’t work towards eliminating malaria without working on both sides of the border, which is bureaucratically not so easy, but that’s what has to be done and that’s a role we’re trying to fill,' says Flowers. 'I think there’s goodwill and effort towards cooperation in these countries. But the bureaucratic technicalities mean that you can’t just walk across the border with a bunch of malaria nets for example. The health post infrastructure, which is funded by the governments, is quite different on each side of the border. You can’t see the border, but you can feel the border.'"
Fighting Malaria with Data: Zambia and Zimbabwe Teams Sharpen their Surveillance, Monitoring, and Evaluation Skills
Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative (I:F CBMI) program teams in Zambia and Zimbabwe convened at the Malaria Institute at Macha for a three-day workshop. Field officers and program managers sharpened their skills and learned new methods for measuring the program's progress towards malaria elimination.
As Zambia and Zimbabwe move closer to malaria elimination, collecting timely and accurate malaria data from the communities in which the program operates becomes increasingly important. Thanks to the support of Dr. Phil Thuma, Senior Scientific Advisor at Macha, field officers and program managers were able to practice conducting malaria surveys with local women and families. The new surveys and methods will be rolled out over the next year.
On Saturday, August 12th, the Church of the Epiphany in New York City affirmed its commitment to criminal justice reform and celebrated the graduation of ten participants from the Raising My Voice-Kin program, a leadership and public speaking skills training for individuals whose loved ones are currently or have previously been incarcerated.
Following an invocation by Reverend Jennifer Reddall and introductory remarks by Deacon Jacqueline Sanchez-Shabbaz and Program Coordinator Linda Steele, two Raising My Voice - Kin graduates gave moving speeches about the challenges of loving someone impacted by the justice system.
Raising My Voice-Kin is a spinoff initiative modeled after the Raising My Voice program, a longer and more intensive leadership and public speaking skills training for formerly incarcerated individuals. The Church of the Epiphany hosted the entirety of the five-week training, offering child support and a hot meal to accompany each Saturday workshop. In hosting, coaching and celebrating Raising My Voice-Kin’s graduates, Epiphany has joined the Church of Heavenly Rest, another Circles of Support partner, in their commitment to supporting men, women and children impacted by mass incarceration.
The ten new graduates are now members of Circle of Support’s Speakers Bureau, and are available to speak at churches, NGO’s, schools, and private events.
For more information, please see our full press release, “On Becoming the Beloved Community” at the Episcopal News Service’s website.
For questions about booking a speaker, please email Lisa at Circles of Support.
Our partners at MACEPA are dedicated to eliminating malaria. Check out their monthly newsletter, "Making Malaria History."
The August issue includes new research from Zambia, which examines human mobility patterns -- an important piece of information that can be used to decrease malaria transmission.
Read the full newsletter here.