Kathryn Schnippel


Truman Scholarship (1996)
Indiana University Bloomington


Kate is currently working with both the Health Economics & Epidemiology Research Office (HE2RO), a collaboration between the University of the Witwatersrand and Boston University and Right to Care, a South African HIV/TB prevention, testing, care and treatment NGO. Right to Care is the largest recipient of USAID South Africa PEPFAR funding and the only non-American NGO to receive an Umbrella Grants Management grant from USAID. She is part of a team advising the national health department on the roll-out of new technology for rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis at HE2RO. At Right to Care, she is assisting to establish a Global Fund program for which Right to Care was selected as principal recipient, including HIV counseling and testing, male medical circumcision, and intensified TB case finding. Kate previously managed the NGO program and the UGM program, and was responsible for the funding and management of a portfolio of 23 South African NGOs active in HIV/TB prevention, care, treatment, and health systems strengthening.

After graduation from Indiana University, Kate participated in the Truman summer institute, interning at the Department of Defence Office of Humanitarian Assistance. Following that experience, she moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to work for the Department of Health at their STD clinic, doing pre- and post-test counselling of clients and partner tracing for those who were HIV-positive. At the same time, Kate started volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, spending the weekends in the same communities where she worked STD outreach. In late 1998, she went to work for Catholic Charities as an HIV educator, teaching children and youth about HIV prevention.

While at WWS from 1999 to 2001, Kate had two opportunities to work at AVSC (now Engender Health) with curricula development teams, once to integrate HIV counselling into family planning and the second time to improve the informed choice curricula. She also commuted to New York City during the last semester to work at the Population Council on the statistical analysis of a medical trial in Turkey. For the summer between first and second year, she went back to Cairo, Egypt in order to work with Habitat for Humanity on the development of a local committee training curricula.

Upon graduation from WWS, Kate returned to Habitat for Humanity Egypt as the Resource Development and Communications Coordinator. Being the only non-Egyptian in the office meant a steep learning curve in cross-cultural team work and colloquial Arabic. She continued to increase her experience in adult education, attending a training of trainers in Arabic and later facilitating in Arabic the training modules she helped develop for local committees. Kate was promoted to Regional Evaluation and Research Specialist for the Middle East and East Africa in July 2003. In this role and subsequent ones with Habitat, as OVC Shelter Specialist and later Regional Operations Consultant – East Africa, she led evaluations of Habitat's program in Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Tanzania, and Uganda. She also used her STATA skills to analyze statistical data from the evaluation conducted by consultants in Egypt. The most exciting experience was the opportunity to travel to Bam, Iran to assess the feasibility of Habitat responding to the earthquake.

During evaluation training for Habitat Africa/Middle East, Kate had the opportunity to express her ideas on how Habitat should respond to the AIDS pandemic in Africa. As a result, she was invited to take a paper she wrote for a WWS class on the impact of AIDS on micro-finance organizations in Africa and re-work it to specifically identify the impact of AIDS on Habitat in the area. The executive summary, written in true WWS policy memo form, was adopted as Habitat's official response to the pandemic and now guides program design. It also led to the a successful application for USAID funding through the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief to shelter orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda, Mozambique and Zambia. Kate moved to South Africa in August 2004 in order to manage the implementation of this grant and other OVC programs implemented by Habitat, including programs in South Africa and Lesotho. She is now a permanent SA resident with two boys, aged 4 and 2.