E-learning on WhatsApp – A collaboration between Grassroot and MIT in South Africa


June 26, 2020 | 8:00-9:00am ET (12:00-1:00pm GMT) | Register

Wondering what time this will be at your location? Find it using the World Clock. 

This webinar discusses lessons learned from a novel online course using WhatsApp that teaches leadership and organizing skills to community organizers. WhatsApp, as an e-learning platform, offers the possibility of reimagining social media platforms as a new avenue for advancing civic pedagogy and networking for long-term social movement building. Though additional iterations are required, initial results suggest that the WhatsApp course was able to connect grassroots organizers in a novel way that encourages learning and information exchange.

Grassroot, a civic technology organization based in South Africa, launched a first-of-its-kind leadership development course over the messaging platform WhatsApp. The distance-learning course, Leadership through Storytelling, was designed to build the capacity of organizers for sustained community activism. In 2019, Grassroot piloted the course and collaborated with the MIT Governance Lab to conduct mixed-methods research on the effectiveness of the course content and its potential to advance long-term community organizing goals.



 Luke Jordan is the Founder and Executive Director at Grassroot. Formerly at McKinsey in Johannesburg and Shanghai, the World Bank in New Delhi and advisor to municipal and national government in South Africa.

Katlego Mohlabane is a Community Builder at Grassroot and Facilitator for the WhatsApp course and is a self-taught digital marketer, graphic designer, and social activist. Katlego is a former Gauteng working group member within the Right 2 Know campaign.

Alisa Zomer is the Assistant Director at the MIT Governance Lab. Formerly, conducted policy research on environmental governance, international development, and justice and equity at Yale University and the World Resources Institute. @azomer.

Addessing COVID-19 in LMIC by Strengthening Online Education

May 14, 2020 | 8:00-9:00am ET (12:00-1:00pm GMT) | Register

Wondering what time this will be at your location? Find it using the World Clock. 


  • Sheila Jagannathan is Lead Learning Specialist and Program Manager of the OLC which is part of the Development Economics Knowledge Management practice of the World Bank.  She serves as the organization’s focal point on digital learning and issues at the intersection of technology use and education in emerging countries.   She is an innovative and strategic educational leader with over 30 years experience in designing and managing distance learning programs/knowledge products and transforming the use of online and classroom pedagogies and technology. Sheila also provides policy advice and technical assistance to World Bank country-level capacity building programs (both government and training institutes seeking to introduce technologies in their educational systems)  in, East Asia, China, the Middle East and North Africa, Africa and South Asia.
  • Dr. Masego Kabaetse is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Botswana in the Faculty of Medicine. Her research interests include learner-support especially in the first year, students experiences with problem-based learning, mlearning, general teaching and learning practices. She has over 10 years of experience in instructional design for online education.
  • Gloria Ibrahim is an enthusiastic e-learning specialist working with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCO) she holds a Masters degree in Public Health from University of Glamorgan, UK and a Bachelors degree in Sociology from the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. She has been utilising her skills to embrace technology in improving medical education in Tanzania by putting her efforts in introducing and implementing Learning Management Systems at KCMUCo since 2012. She enjoys being a part of and leading a successful and productive team to success. Gloria with her background in sociology accumulates bundle of experience in utilising her experience to interact with the noble empirical professional, health professional and calmly enable curriculum delivery, will remarkably contribute to social changes. Before Joining KCMUCo in September 2016 Gloria served as a Learning Management System Specialist for Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) a PEPHAR funded project, which aimed at improving medical education by strengthening Information Communication Technology. In that position, she successfully led the e-learning activities including managing of the curricular materials, software adaptation, maintenance of LMS servers and training of the system of usage to medical students and faculty members.
  • Jan Andrew Zubiri is a graduate students in the Learning Design and Technology Program, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Georgetown University, Washington DC.  To address the COVID-19 pandemic Mr. Zubiri developed an app to crowdsource resources on COVID-19 in the Philippines.  

Addessing COVID-19 in LMIC by Addressing Mental Health

April 30, 2020 | 8:00-9:00am ET (12:00-1:00pm GMT) | Register

Wondering what time this will be at your location? Find it using the World Clock. 

Brandon Kohrt, MD, PhD will discuss Mental Health issues, the invisible disabilities, in relation to challenges faced during the COVID-19 crisis.

ITfHESE brings the Mental Health Care in the era of COVID-19 to the front burner addressing the issues that affect humanity as a whole as well as vulnerable communities around the globe.

Expert Speaker:

Brandon Kohrt, MD, PhD, is the Charles and Sonia Akman Professor of Global Psychiatry, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Global Health, and Anthropology at George Washington University. As an internationally recognized global mental health expert, he works with populations affected by war-related trauma, torture, environmental disasters, and chronic stressor of poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to healthcare. Dr. Kohrt conducts global mental health research focusing on populations affected by war-related trauma and chronic stressors of poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to healthcare and education. He has worked in Nepal for 16 years using a bio-cultural developmental perspective integrating epidemiology, cultural anthropology, ethno-psychology, and neuroendocrinology. Since 2000, he has conducted a prospective study of adults in rural Nepal examining the effects of political trauma, ethnic discrimination, gender-based violence, and poverty on mental health. With Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, he designed and evaluated psychosocial reintegration packages for child soldiers in Nepal. He works with The Carter Center Mental Health Liberia Program developing anti-stigma campaigns and family psycho-education programs. He directs the anti-stigma program of the Mental Health Beyond Facilities program in Liberia, Uganda, and Nepal. Dr. Kohrt is the lead academic collaborator for the World Health Organization Ensuring Quality in Psychological Support (EQUIP) initiative. For the COVID-19 response, Dr. Kohrt is involved in numerous initiatives including EQUIP-remote to help mental health care providers transition to remote and mHealth services, and he is working with refugees in the U.S. to provide remote psychological support to fellow refugees during public health lockdowns.

Addessing COVID-19 in LMIC by Addressing Disability Health Care

April 24, 2020 | 8:00-9:00am ET (12:00-1:00pm GMT) | Register

Wondering what time this will be at your location? Find it using the World Clock.  There are more than one billion people with disabilities who are facing the challenges of COVID-19. They face major difficulties in being able to manage both prevention and recovery. Their loved ones need to care for them in close proximity and therefore social distancing is not practical. Many facilities are not geared to accommodate their compounded needs in this COVID-19 era. Through this webinar, ITfHESE wants to bring to the forefront of the local, national, regional, and international arena, the plight of people with disabilities and their care givers.

Presenters:   Shubha Negash & Mildred Adhiambo Omino

    • Dr. Shubha Nagesh is a medical doctor by training and specialized in Global Health from Karolinska Instituet, Stockholm as an Erasmus Mundus Scholar. She leads the Community Follow-up and Research programs at the Foundation. A Senior Atlantic Fellow in Global Health Equity at The George Washington University, Shubha seeks to improve gender equity for children with disabilities in Uttarakhand, the Himalayan state of India. Her current research explores the intersectionality of gender and disability, and her specific focus is to improve access and utilization of services for young girls with disabilities in the region. She serves as a Mentor for the Global Health Mentorship Program, through which she mentors young medical doctors from South Asia who are keen to pursue a career in Childhood Disabilities from a global health perspective. She is the 2020 South Asia correspondent for International Health Policies (the most popular Global Health newsletter in recent times), and she mostly writes about her passion, “Making Childhood Disability a Global Health Priority”. Previously, she has worked as a National Consultant for the PMTCT Program at the National AIDS Control Organization, Government of India and as a Clinician with the National Health Service, United Kingdom.
  • Ms. Mildred Adhiambo Omino is Founder and Advocacy and Strategic Partnership Officer at Women & Realities of Disability Society in Nairobi, Kenya. Inspired by her lived realities as a woman with a disability coupled with several years of professional experience, Ms. Omino works extensively to advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) of girls and women with disabilities through self and collective advocacy. Ms. Omino holds a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of Nairobi and Bachelor of Commerce degree from KCA University.

This webinar is being organized in partnership with the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), Kampala, Uganda.

April 15, 2020 | 8:00-9:30am ET (12:00-1:30pm GMT) | Register


  • Dr. Miriam Were (Kenya)
  • Dr. Francis Omaswa (Uganda)
  • Dr. Suwit Wibulpolprasert (Thailand)
Each of the panelists will speak for not more than 10 minutes on country and regional experience that can be replicated for the current pandemic. This will be followed by a Questions & Answers  session. We are aiming at reaching a large international multi-sectoral audience including political, health, cultural and religious leaders.

More about the panelists

  • Professor Miriam Khamadi Were qualified as a Medical doctor from Kenya’s University of Nairobi. Then she received both the Masters and Doctor of Public Health degrees from the Johns Hopkins University in USA. Nationally, Prof Were was a Medical Officer in Kenya’s Ministry of Health and taught CommunityHealth of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Nairobi. Internationally she has been Chief of Health and Nutrition, Representative of the World Health Organisation and Director of the UNFPA Technical Support Team for East, Central and Anglophone West Africa from which she retired in 2000. Post-retirement, she has been Chair of Kenya’s National AIDS Control Council, Chair of the African Medical and Research Foundation Board, Member of the Board of the Health Workforce Alliance, Member of the UN Secretary General’s independent Expert Review Group (iERG) for Women’s and Children’s Health, Champions of AIDS-Free Generation mostly made up of Former African Heads of State. She is the co-Founder of UZIMA Foundation-Africa and was Chancellor of Moi University in Kenya. Among outstanding international honours to Prof Were are HIDEYO NOGUCHI AFRICA PRIZE by Japan and The Queen Elizabeth II Gold Medal for Public Health in the Commonwealth. She has Honorary Degrees from Moi University, Honorary Doctorate from Japan’s Ochanomizu University and Doctor of Humane Letters from DePaul University, USA. She also has Kenya National Honour of Elder of the Burning Spear for outstanding contribution to the nation and is Kenya’s Community Health Strategy Goodwill Ambassador.
  • Dr. Francis Omaswa is the Executive of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), and chair of the African Health systems Governance Network (Ashgovnet). He co-chairs the Independent Advisory Group to the WHO Director for the African Region. He was Director General of Health Services in the Ministry of Health in Uganda and coordinated major reforms in the health sector. He has a keen interest access to quality health services by rural populations and spent five years testing various approaches for this at the Ngora Mission hospital in Uganda.He has been President, African Platform on Human Resources for Health (APHRH), Special Adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General and founding Executive Director of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA). He is founding Director of the Uganda Heart Institute at Makerere University, Uganda; founding President of the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa, chair of the GAVI Independent Review Committee, founding Chair of the Global Stop TB Partnership, Chair of the Portfolio and Procurement Committee of the Global Fund Board. He was a member of the steering committee of the High Level Forum on health-related MDGs. He serves on committees and expert panels. Francis Omaswa is a graduate of Makerere Medical School, Uganda and has qualifications in surgery, health services management and medical education.
  • Dr. Suwit Wibulpolprasert is a general practitioner, a public health specialist, an administrator and a policy advocator. He began his career as a director and a practitioner in four rural district hospitals in Thailand from 1977 to 1985. Later he was the Director of the Northeastern Public Health College, Director of Technical Division of the FDA, Director of Bureau of Health Policy and Plan, Assistant Permanent Secretary, Deputy Permanent Secretary, and Senior Advisor at the Thai Ministry of Public Health. His main interests are in health policy and planning, and international health. He has been extensively involving in research and development in the areas of human resources for health; health economics and health care financing; international trade and health; health promotion; health information; and pharmaceuticals. He has published more than 100 papers, reports and books locally and internationally. In Thailand, Dr. Suwit is the editor of a local journal for para-medical personnel and had produced radio and television programs on health and social issues for more than 15 years. He is currently the President of the Folk Doctor Foundation; Evaluation Board member of the Thailand Research Fund; and Board member of the Health Systems Research Institute, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, the National Health Security Board, the Thai Medical Research Council, the National Nanotechnology Centre, the Mahidol University Council, and the National Science and Technology Board. Besides all these works, he has run 8 marathons. For international involvements, he represents Thailand in many international health forums and the World Health Assembly. He also represented Thailand and the South- east Asia Region as a member and Vice Chair of the Governing Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria in 2001-2004. He was the President of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety in 2003-2006 and a member and Vice Chair of the WHO Executive Board during 2004-2007. He also chaired the Board of the Health Metrics Network in 2006-2007. At present, Dr. Suwit chairs the Steering Committee of Asia Partnership on Avian Influenza Research and the Steering Committee of Asia-Pacific Action Alliance on HRH. He is also a member and Chair of the Program Coordinating Board of the UNAIDS, and member and Chair of the Program and Policy Committee of the interim Board of the Global Health Workforce Alliance. Dr. Suwit served as a Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Public Health, in 2000-2003. Currently, he serves at the highest rank of government official (PC11) as a Senior Advisor in Disease Control, after serving as a Senior Advisor in Health Economics during 2003-2006. He is also responsible for health policy and international health works of the ministry.

Webinar Recordings