CMMB is fortunate to partner with several universities including St. Catherine, FordhamFairfieldNotre DameColumbia, and Regis University. The core of our relationships with universities is around building capacity for program development and implementation, and operational research and learning. As students and faculty contribute valuable knowledge and skills in research and training for CMMB and our programs, they gain authentic and tangible international experience and have a very real and direct impact on the work that we do. These partnerships are key components of our volunteer program.

In June 2019, three St. Catherine MPH practicum students set off to their CMMB placement sites in Zambia, Peru, and Kenya! Over the summer months, while fulfilling their practicum project expectations, each student will take on a variety of roles, including building capacity of local staff, program support, and evaluation. 

A Little History

CMMB is a proud partner of St. Catherine University (St. Kate). Located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, St. Kate’s educates women to lead and influence. Rooted in the Catholic tradition, students receive an integrated liberal arts and professional education emphasizing intellectual inquiry, social teaching, and leadership. St. Kate’s University aims to send ethical, reflective, and socially responsible leaders out into the world. Together with partners and volunteers like St. Kate’s students, we have contributed to over 90,000 hours of service in 14 countries.

Last year, St. Kate’s practicum students Maggie Harris and Sophie Olson left a long-lasting impact on our communities in Kenya. After returning home, Maggie shared the following, “Over the course of seven weeks I grew as a student, while also forming strong and memorable relationships with the people around me. I enjoyed every single minute with the CMMB team and the people of Mutomo and will be forever grateful for the warm hospitality! Thank you for a wonderful seven weeks, I hope to be back!”

Together, St. Kate’s and CMMB share a joint grant with the Zambia GHR Foundation.

Founded in 1965 by Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst, the GHR Foundation partners with organizations around the world to promote global development, education, and health. Thanks to our shared belief in healthier lives worldwide, in 2014 CMMB received funding to support the Kusamala Child Protection Project, building system capacity while providing stable, protective, and nurturing environments for children.

Meet The Team

Rakesh Adelli • Zambia


Raskeh, St. Kate student, meets with beneficiaries in Zambia. Here he is with a young Zambian boy who suffers from a physical and intellectual disability. This is the population that Rakesh is working with through the GHR/CMMB Kusamala+ program.

Rakesh with one of our young beneficiaries, Emmanuel. Emmanuel has both physical and intellectual disabilities and is receiving services through GHR/CMMB program, Kusamala+

Originally from India, Rakesh is pursuing a Masters in Public Health from St. Catherine University. In 2013 he earned a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from Zhejiang University in China. After completing his one-year clinical rotation, he visited communities in China to learn about their problems, provide treatment, and offer them hope.

He returned to India after completing his bachelor’s and gained three years of practice in oncology, emergency, and gender medicine. He is placed in Zambia for his practicum where he is supporting CMMB’s Kusamala project, working specifically with children with disabilities.

Rakesh’s Project

Rakesh supports the implementation of Kusamala Plus initiatives in Lusaka. Kusamala Plus is a two-year pilot program funded in partnership with St. Kates University and GHR. The program seeks to test interventions mitigating stigma against children with disabilities in the Kanyama community of Zambia.

Throughout his time in Zambia Rakesh will be documenting Kusamala Plus success in audio, video, and narrative illustration,  as community members share their stories. These success stories will highlight the achievements of the project.

Asha Mohamed • Kenya

MPH, BS Biochemistry 

Three women wearing head scarfs. Asha, far right, is a St. Kate's student who is completing her practicum with our team in Kenya.

Asha sitting with mother’s birth attendant who attended one of the trainings she conducted for the new community health volunteers in Inyali.

Asha is a St. Catherine MPH student with five years of work experience in HIV testing and care, community outreach, and community health work. She is especially interested in getting further exposure to maternal health and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs in a rural Kenya.

Asha comes from a Somali refugee family who relocated to Kenya before moving to the US.  She has returned to Kenya every year for the last six years, driven to work on improving communities in need. She brings so much to the field as she is familiar with the culture and the Swahili language. Asha has experience working in the US with East African communities in HIV clinics, team coordination roles, and research assistance.

Asha’s Project

Asha supports the CMMB team in Kenya and is in the process of developing a partnership between CMMB and the local Somali Community. In doing so, Asha meets with community members in person and helps bridge language and cultural barriers between the community and the CMMB team.

In the long-term, Asha will develop an action plan addressing issues expressed by community leaders, and integrate a health system and curriculum to train incoming community health volunteers from the Somali community. More specifically, Asha hopes to empower community women to take the lead in overcoming health concerns. Ultimately, Asha wants to showcase the potential of the local Somali community.

Shandy Mangra • Peru


Shandy, a St. Kate student, stands with members of her Peru team and community. Shandy is completing her student practicum in Peru.

Shandy far left .In the photo, she is conducting brief interviews alongside one of CMMB licensed nurses, Gladys Meza Reyes. They are interviewing Esther, one of the lead promotoras (community health workers) in Huancayo, Peru.

Shandy is pursuing her Masters in Public Health at St. Catherine University. Before pursuing her MPH, she obtained a bachelor of individualized studies from the University of Minnesota in the areas of sociology, political sciences, and global studies. Shandy has nine years of professional experience developing programs and working with communities in the area of health. Additionally, she is a certified community health worker (CHW). Shandy will be based in Peru.

Shandy’s Project

Shandy will work on documenting CMMB’s Community Health Workers’ model. She will also support the CMMB Huancayo Team with it’s CHAMPS initiatives. Day-to-day responsibilities include coordinating task distribution for community visits, review and analyzing of the CHAMPS CHW approach, supporting outreach and community activities, and the implementation of focus groups for the continuation of St. Kates and CMMB’s joint research project.

Check back soon for field updates from Rakesh, Asha, and Sandy!