Community Health Center

Student lead: Akshay Swaminathan

Student major: Statistics, molecular biology

Women in the impoverished, peri-urban community area of Cochabamba, Bolivia are empowered through education, sanitation and research. On-site partners communicate impact of prior projects along with changing needs and desires to adeptly plan for the future.

Building on success of water-conserving showers, latrines, laundry sinks; public health workshops covering maternal and sexual health, nutrition, water sanitation; and training community health workers leads to this year’s Refresh Bolivia plan to construct a community health center. Without a public health center within 1-2 hours travel and basic consultation priced more than a patient’s monthly income, many women refuse to give birth in a government hospital due to years of discrimination against indigenous people. Additionally, many residents only speak the indigenous language Quechua, while the healthcare system operates in Spanish.

The construction will start with a day-care and nursery. Boosting the sustainability and social mobility elements, the center will employ women and allow others freedom to seek daytime employment. Women will manage the center through a network of 12 microfinance groups in the district. Plus, local university students are coming onboard as part of their community service requirement. Incorporation of performance measurement and social impact metrics insures meeting community needs or changing direction per metrics.


  • Red Acción
  • Serve Abroad
  • Fundacion San Lucas
  • Universidad del Valle
  • la Enfermería Elizabeth Séton