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Team Member Spotlight: Sofia Desta

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Sofia Desta

Sofia Desta is a Senior Technical Associate – LEPP (Limited Excess Property Program) Senior Communications and Outreach Specialist for Vysnova Partners Inc.
Sofia is responsible for undertaking knowledge management efforts by identifying platforms and opportunities through which important program information is generated and shared amongst LEPP stakeholders. She also works to increase the visibility of LEPP by creating awareness of how federal surplus property transferred overseas is supporting the U.S. development and humanitarian aid programs. Through outreach, Sofia implements initiatives that build strong partnerships to strengthen program outcomes. Sofia has developed an outreach and communications strategy for LEPP that is aligned with USAID’s Agency program priorities. This strategy leverages the transfer of more than 40 million dollars per annum of federal surplus property to increase public diplomacy opportunities and build the capacity of health, education and agriculture programs in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. Sofia is also responsible for identifying key performance indicators for humanitarian aid and development programs utilizing federal excess property attained through LEPP.
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LEPP Donations are Used in Programs that Provide Training and Build the Capacity of the Local Workforce

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LEPP Donations Help People in Rural Haiti Gain Access to Affordable Health Care

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LEPP Donations Help People in Rural Haiti Gain Access to Affordable Health Care

LEPP donations of dental equipment were transferred by partner organization Food for the Poor, Inc. to Bethesda Community Health Center in a rural community of Onaville, Haiti. Most people in Onaville do not prioritize oral health because the majority of clinics are either inaccessible or too expensive. Most residents only seek treatment after symptoms worsen. Left untreated, many of these conditions become chronic.

Bethesda Community Health Center was built right after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, spearheaded by health professionals working in remote areas to address the urgent health care needs of displaced communities. In partnership with Food for the Poor Inc. and other generous donors, the center was established to provide a permanent space to treat acute and chronic diseases for populations residing in Onaville and the surrounding communities.

François Leclerc (pictured getting treatment above), 31, came to the center from his small home-town in Canaan, a community located 10 kilometers from the Bethesda Community Health Center. It was his very first visit to the dentist. “Growing up, going to the dentist was viewed as an unnecessary expense and a luxury by my parents – lately, I have been in so much pain, I could not eat, I could not even touch my face,” said François.

Aided by the dental equipment donated through LEPP and Food For The Poor Inc., François received the appropriate care and treatment at the health center. “The clinic is very affordable, I paid 150 gourdes [approx. $1.60], for a consultation,” he added.


About LEPP – Transferring Physical Capital to Aid U.S. Emergency and Development Programs Overseas

Vysnova partners with USAID’s Limited Excess Property Program (LEPP); an innovative and cost-effective program that transfers millions of dollars’ worth of federal surplus property to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and USAID Missions to supplement their development and humanitarian projects overseas. LEPP is yet another example of Vysnova’s strategic focus of cultivating partnerships that support sustainable, locally-driven development endeavors.

In FY 2019, LEPP successfully transferred over 43 million dollars’ worth of surplus property to 14 developing nations. Partner organizations that are faith-based accounted for approximately 50% of the federal surplus property transfers in the fiscal year. LEPP has already transferred 13.7 million dollars’ worth of surplus property just in the first four months of FY 2020.

These LEPP donations included medical supplies such as ultrasounds, infant incubators, hospital beds, ophthalmology, laboratory and dental equipment, autoclaves, generators, laptops, computers, and school furniture. Physical capital donations to Latin America and the Caribbean were transferred to Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, and Peru. Transfers to Asia were made to Pakistan and the Philippines; while transfers to Eastern Europe benefited underserved populations in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, and Ukraine. The majority of property transfers to Africa were made to Tanzania.

Lepp Transfers of Medical Equipment Lessen the Financial Burden of Health Institutions in Developing Nations
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Lepp Transfers of Medical Equipment Lessen the Financial Burden of Health Institutions in Developing Nations

Lepp Transfers of Medical Equipment Lessen the Financial Burden of Health Institutions in Developing Nations

Lepp Transfers of Medical Equipment Lessen the Financial Burden of Health Institutions in Developing Nations

Medical equipment such as autoclave sterilizers and hospital beds were transferred through LEPP and its partner organization Deseret International to the Peninsula Medical Center in the Bataa region of the Philippines. The center provides medical care and treatment for nominal fees and in some instances at no cost to patients. Had the center procured the medical equipment and supplies in the local market, it would have paid approximately 50% more of the dollar value of the donations. Every dollar that is saved is invested in health care services that provide diagnosis and treatment for patients who cannot afford basic medical care.

Pruna (pictured above) is a widow who earns a very modest income by working at a laundromat. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and was distraught when she discovered that she could not afford the cost of surgery that could save her life. However, when Pruna reached out to the Peninsula Medical Center, she was admitted and underwent chemotherapy and mastectomy – completely free of any medical fees. This is just one example of how donations of essential medical supplies lessen the financial burden of health institutions, helping more underserved and disadvantaged patients access life-saving care at no or minimal cost.


About LEPP – Transferring Physical Capital to Aid U.S. Emergency and Development Programs Overseas

Vysnova partners with USAID’s Limited Excess Property Program (LEPP); an innovative and cost-effective program that transfers millions of dollars’ worth of federal surplus property to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and USAID Missions to supplement their development and humanitarian projects overseas. LEPP is yet another example of Vysnova’s strategic focus of cultivating partnerships that support sustainable, locally-driven development endeavors.

In FY 2019, LEPP successfully transferred over 43 million dollars’ worth of surplus property to 14 developing nations. Partner organizations that are faith-based accounted for approximately 50% of the federal surplus property transfers in the fiscal year. LEPP has already transferred 13.7 million dollars’ worth of surplus property just in the first four months of FY 2020.

These LEPP donations included medical supplies such as ultrasounds, infant incubators, hospital beds, ophthalmology, laboratory and dental equipment, autoclaves, generators, laptops, computers, and school furniture. Physical capital donations to Latin America and the Caribbean were transferred to Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, and Peru. Transfers to Asia were made to Pakistan and the Philippines; while transfers to Eastern Europe benefited underserved populations in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, and Ukraine. The majority of property transfers to Africa were made to Tanzania.

Lepp Transfers Help Increase Access to Health Care in Guatemala
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Lepp Transfers Help Increase Access to Health Care in Guatemala

Lepp Transfers Help Increase Access to Health Care in Guatemala

Lepp Transfers Help Increase Access to Health Care in Guatemala

 

LEPP donations of surgical kits, hospital beds, vital sign monitors, generators, incubators, radiant warmers, and laboratory supplies were transferred by LEPP’s partner organization World Help to 28 public hospitals in underserved areas in Guatemala. Leveraged by local humanitarian aid and development partners, LEPP donations impact approximately 12,500 people in Guatemala. One notable impact is the use of surplus property donations in World Help’s Operation Baby Rescue program that works to curb the effects of severe malnutrition that threatens 80 percent of children in rural Guatemala. Also, LEPP transfers of surgical kits are utilized to perform life-saving treatments and provide viable and affordable options to patients.


About LEPP – Transferring Physical Capital to Aid U.S. Emergency and Development Programs Overseas

Vysnova partners with USAID’s Limited Excess Property Program (LEPP); an innovative and cost-effective program that transfers millions of dollars’ worth of federal surplus property to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and USAID Missions to supplement their development and humanitarian projects overseas. LEPP is yet another example of Vysnova’s strategic focus of cultivating partnerships that support sustainable, locally-driven development endeavors.

In FY 2019, LEPP successfully transferred over 43 million dollars’ worth of surplus property to 14 developing nations. Partner organizations that are faith-based accounted for approximately 50% of the federal surplus property transfers in the fiscal year. LEPP has already transferred 13.7 million dollars’ worth of surplus property just in the first four months of FY 2020.

These LEPP donations included medical supplies such as ultrasounds, infant incubators, hospital beds, ophthalmology, laboratory and dental equipment, autoclaves, generators, laptops, computers and school furniture. Physical capital donations to Latin America and the Caribbean were transferred to Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, and Peru. Transfers to Asia were made to Pakistan and the Philippines; while transfers to Eastern Europe benefited underserved populations in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, and Ukraine. The majority of property transfers to Africa were made to Tanzania.

Donations From the American People Mark a Milestone Birthday!
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Donations From the American People Mark a Milestone Birthday!

Donations From the American People Mark a Milestone Birthday!

Donations From the American People Mark a Milestone Birthday!

This year, Brianna’s 8th birthday was particularly significant because it was also the day she got her cleft palate closed. Brianna’s cleft lip had affected her speech, self-confidence, and her ability to make friends – leaving her family anxious for treatment that is not only accessible but also safe and affordable.

Brianna’s journey towards full recovery has not been easy – she has undergone multiple surgeries between 2015 and 2019. Brianna’s life-changing surgeries were made possible because of medical equipment and surgical supplies donated through LEPP and Deseret International Foundation, in partnership with Smile Train in Davao, Southern Philippines. Brianna’s family did not have to incur any costs for her treatment and instead were able to concentrate their efforts and limited financial resources on her recovery.

A month after her final lip palatoplasty, Brianna joined a speech camp to work on her glottal stops. In only three days, her speech limitations were corrected and today Brianna speaks in perfect sentences. Brianna’s surgery was truly life-changing.


LEPP – Transferring Physical Capital to Aid U.S. Emergency and Development Programs Overseas

Vysnova partners with USAID’s Limited Excess Property Program (LEPP); an innovative and cost-effective program that transfers millions of dollars’ worth of federal surplus property to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and USAID Missions to supplement their development and humanitarian projects overseas. LEPP is yet another example of Vysnova’s strategic focus of cultivating partnerships that support sustainable, locally-driven development endeavors.

In FY 2019, LEPP successfully transferred over 43 million dollars’ worth of surplus property to 14 developing nations. Partner organizations that are faith-based accounted for approximately 50% of the federal surplus property transfers in the fiscal year. LEPP has already transferred 13.7 million dollars’ worth of surplus property just in the first four months of FY 2020.

These LEPP donations included medical supplies such as ultrasounds, infant incubators, hospital beds, ophthalmology, laboratory and dental equipment, autoclaves, generators, laptops, computers and school furniture. Physical capital donations to Latin America and the Caribbean were transferred to Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, and Peru. Transfers to Asia were made to Pakistan and the Philippines; while transfers to Eastern Europe benefited underserved populations in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, and Ukraine. The majority of property transfers to Africa were made to Tanzania.

USAID’s LEPP Donations are Utilized in Disaster Relief Efforts Federal surplus property transfers are utilized within programs that provide life-saving assistance and infrastructure to rehabilitate communities affected by natural and man-made disasters. Thousands of people in the Caribbean are still feeling the after-effects of hurricane Dorian, Maria, and Irma. In FY 2019, LEPP’s partner humanitarian organization Americas Relief Team, Inc. (ART) transferred 9,200 pairs of orthopedic shoes to the islands of Antigua and Barbuda to benefit the elderly and people with disabilities. Diesel generators were also donated to provide emergency assistance to communities affected by hurricane Dorian. To this day, fuel-efficient generators transferred through LEPP continue to provide electric power in schools, fire stations, hospitals, shelter-homes, police stations, and youth centers in Antigua/Barbuda and Dominica, where communities are still rebuilding to recover from hurricanes Maria and Irma that hit in 2017. ART has been able to increase the impact of its programs by utilizing LEPP property donations to strengthen networks of local partners in the region. In collaboration with the U.S. Caribbean Strong Relief Fund, the Red Cross and other local organizations on the islands, disaster relief efforts have directly impacted the lives of approximately 12,000 hurricane victims on the islands. U.S. PVOs have used LEPP to not only access physical capital but also to leverage the donations to manage, coordinate and train local disaster management agencies to improve their capacity to respond to future emergencies. LEPP PVO partners are working hard on initiatives that improve food security, empower women and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations. As a result, communities are better prepared to proactively respond to future disasters in the region
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USAID’s LEPP Donations are Utilized in Disaster Relief Efforts

USAID’s LEPP Donations are Utilized in Disaster Relief Efforts Federal surplus property transfers are utilized within programs that provide life-saving assistance and infrastructure to rehabilitate communities affected by natural and man-made disasters.  Thousands of people in the Caribbean are still feeling the after-effects of hurricane Dorian, Maria, and Irma. In FY 2019, LEPP’s partner humanitarian organization Americas Relief  Team, Inc. (ART) transferred 9,200 pairs of orthopedic shoes to the islands of Antigua and Barbuda to benefit the elderly and people with disabilities. Diesel generators were also donated to provide emergency assistance to communities affected by hurricane Dorian. To this day, fuel-efficient generators transferred through LEPP continue to provide electric power in schools, fire stations, hospitals, shelter-homes, police stations, and youth centers in Antigua/Barbuda and Dominica, where communities are still rebuilding to recover from hurricanes Maria and Irma that hit in 2017.  ART has been able to increase the impact of its programs by utilizing LEPP property donations to strengthen networks of local partners in the region. In collaboration with the U.S. Caribbean Strong Relief Fund, the Red Cross and other local organizations on the islands, disaster relief efforts have directly impacted the lives of approximately 12,000 hurricane victims on the islands.  U.S. PVOs have used LEPP to not only access physical capital but also to leverage the donations to manage, coordinate and train local disaster management agencies to improve their capacity to respond to future emergencies. LEPP PVO partners are working hard on initiatives that improve food security, empower women and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations.  As a result, communities are better prepared to proactively respond to future disasters in the region

USAID’s LEPP Donations are Utilized in Disaster Relief Efforts

Federal surplus property transfers are utilized within programs that provide life-saving assistance and infrastructure to rehabilitate communities affected by natural and man-made disasters.

Thousands of people in the Caribbean are still feeling the after-effects of hurricane Dorian, Maria, and Irma. In FY 2019, LEPP’s partner humanitarian organization Americas Relief Team, Inc. (ART) transferred 9,200 pairs of orthopedic shoes to the islands of Antigua and Barbuda to benefit the elderly and people with disabilities. Diesel generators were also donated to provide emergency assistance to communities affected by hurricane Dorian. To this day, fuel-efficient generators transferred through LEPP continue to provide electric power in schools, fire stations, hospitals, shelter-homes, police stations, and youth centers in Antigua/Barbuda and Dominica, where communities are still rebuilding to recover from hurricanes Maria and Irma that hit in 2017.

ART has been able to increase the impact of its programs by utilizing LEPP property donations to strengthen networks of local partners in the region. In collaboration with the U.S. Caribbean Strong Relief Fund, the Red Cross and other local organizations on the islands, disaster relief efforts have directly impacted the lives of approximately 12,000 hurricane victims on the islands.

U.S. PVOs have used LEPP to not only access physical capital but also to leverage the donations to manage, coordinate and train local disaster management agencies to improve their capacity to respond to future emergencies. LEPP PVO partners are working hard on initiatives that improve food security, empower women and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations. As a result, communities are better prepared to proactively respond to future disasters in the region.


Vysnova partners with USAID’s Limited Excess Property Program (LEPP); an innovative and cost-effective program that transfers millions of dollars’ worth of federal surplus property to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and USAID Missions to supplement their development and humanitarian projects overseas. LEPP is yet another example of Vysnova’s strategic focus of cultivating partnerships that support sustainable, locally-driven development endeavors.

LEPP Donations are Utilized in Life-Changing Surgeries, Helping People Lead Productive Lives
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LEPP Donations are Utilized in Life-Changing Surgeries, Helping People Lead Productive Lives

LEPP Donations are Utilized in Life-Changing Surgeries, Helping People Lead Productive Lives

Ana Cristina Gutierrez works as a cake decorator in her father’s small bakery in her hometown of Daet, Philippines. She has lived with strabismus crossed eyes her whole life which worsened as she got older. At the age of 25, Ana supports her two younger siblings with their school expenses. “I’ve always wanted to find a job with better pay, but I’m constantly rejected because of my eyes— even after an exceptional job interview, I’m never offered a job,” said Ana. Ana learned about the medical services provided at the Mabuhay Deseret Foundation from her uncle, who told her that screenings will be done by ophthalmologists in her province of Camarines Norte. The foundation has received modern ophthalmic surgical equipment and supplies through LEPP and the U.S. humanitarian organization Deseret International.

The doctors told Ana that her strabismus can be corrected with surgery. At absolutely no cost to her, Ana received two surgeries by trained local doctors utilizing the surgical equipment and supplies donated by the American people. “I immediately saw results after my first surgery. This experience has been more than I have ever hoped for. I’m thankful beyond words,” said Ana.

Today, Ana works as a patient coordinator in her home province of Daet. “Having this kind of job, I’m not only able to support my family but also have a great opportunity to give back to my community by helping people receive life-changing medical interventions,” she commented.


 

LEPP – Transferring Physical Capital to Aid U.S. Emergency and Development Programs Overseas

Vysnova partners with USAID’s Limited Excess Property Program (LEPP); an innovative and cost-effective program that transfers millions of dollars’ worth of federal surplus property to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and USAID Missions to supplement their development and humanitarian projects overseas. LEPP is yet another example of Vysnova’s strategic focus of cultivating partnerships that support sustainable, locally-driven development endeavors.

In FY 2019, LEPP successfully transferred over 43 million dollars’ worth of surplus property to 14 developing nations. Partner organizations that are faith-based accounted for approximately 50% of the federal surplus property transfers in the fiscal year. LEPP has already transferred 13.7 million dollars’ worth of surplus property just in the first four months of FY 2020.

These LEPP donations included medical supplies such as ultrasounds, infant incubators, hospital beds, ophthalmology, laboratory and dental equipment, autoclaves, generators, laptops, computers and school furniture. Physical capital donations to Latin America and the Caribbean were transferred to Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, and Peru. Transfers to Asia were made to Pakistan and the Philippines; while transfers to Eastern Europe benefited underserved populations in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, and Ukraine. The majority of property transfers to Africa were made to Tanzania.

 

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Kiboga General Hospital in Rural Uganda Reaches More Patients With Improved Diagnostics and Treatment Thanks to LEPP Donations of Medical Equipment

Kiboga General Hospital in Rural Uganda Reaches More Patients With Improved Diagnostics and Treatment Thanks to LEPP Donations of Medical Equipment

Kiboga General Hospital is located approximately 100 miles from the capital of Uganda, Kampala. The hospital serves six surrounding districts and provides free and subsidized surgical, imaging, immunization, maternity and family planning services. With 210 bed-capacity, the hospital is severely underfunded and overcrowded and is operating with outdated equipment. For instance, there are no x-ray machines in the surrounding three districts, and Kiboga General Hospital bears the burden of providing this much needed diagnostic service.

To improve the diagnosis and treatment of prevalent chronic, communicable and non-communicable diseases (hepatitis B, HIV, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease), Kiboga General Hospital needed to obtain diagnostic equipment for its laboratory and hospital beds to increase its patient intake. To address this challenge laboratory equipment, hospital beds, surgical, and other medical supplies and consumables were

transferred to the hospital through LEPP partner organization World Help. Today, as a result of these donations, the hospital is able to provide life-saving services to nearly 50,000 people who rely on the hospital as the only health care provider in the surrounding area.

One patient who benefited from these LEPP donations was Ruth (pictured above). Ruth was having trouble seeing and hearing. Due to the lack of diagnostic medical equipment, doctors at the hospital were unable to provide her with treatment. The only option for the hospital was to send Ruth to an urban medical facility 100 miles away in Kampala. But that journey was too taxing for Ruth, both physically and financially. However, thanks to the recent medical equipment donations through LEPP and World Help, Ruth was able to come back to Kiboga General Hospital and receive treatment to correct her vision, hearing, and recover in familiar surroundings close to home.

This is just one example of how donations of medical equipment and consumables from the American people save lives and contribute to the development of rural health systems in developing nations.


 

LEPP – Transferring Physical Capital to Aid U.S. Emergency and Development Programs Overseas

Vysnova partners with USAID’s Limited Excess Property Program (LEPP); an innovative and cost-effective program that transfers millions of dollars’ worth of federal surplus property to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and USAID Missions to supplement their development and humanitarian projects overseas. LEPP is yet another example of Vysnova’s strategic focus of cultivating partnerships that support sustainable, locally-driven development endeavors.

In FY 2019, LEPP successfully transferred over 43 million dollars’ worth of surplus property to 14 developing nations. Partner organizations that are faith-based accounted for approximately 50% of the federal surplus property transfers in the fiscal year. LEPP has already transferred 13.7 million dollars’ worth of surplus property just in the first four months of FY 2020.

These LEPP donations included medical supplies such as ultrasounds, infant incubators, hospital beds, ophthalmology, laboratory and dental equipment, autoclaves, generators, laptops, computers and school furniture. Physical capital donations to Latin America and the Caribbean were transferred to Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, and Peru. Transfers to Asia were made to Pakistan and the Philippines; while transfers to Eastern Europe benefited underserved populations in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, and Ukraine. The majority of property transfers to Africa were made to Tanzania.