Western Heads East

A collaboration between community leaders and scholars to create social empowerment and promote well-being through probiotic and fermented foods.

About Western Heads East 

Western Heads East is a partnership involving students and faculty members from Western University, and African partners, working together to promote health and sustainable development through probiotic and fermented food.

Student Research Eyes Probiotic Food Access 

Principal Investigator: Toby Le

Led by undergraduate students at the University of Western, this pioneering multi-site research study brought together students from various disciplines to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of non-dairy vehicles for GR-1 probiotics in Tanzania and Kenya.

Research: Assessing the Effectiveness of Different Probiotic Foods

Principal Investigator: Toby Le

In response to requests and feedback from community members in East Africa, we conducted a research study to investigate alternative means of delivering Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 probiotics. In this defined study, we examined the potential of pulses as a vehicle for GR-1 probiotics. By demonstrating the efficacy of pulses as a probiotic carrier, we aim to increase the accessibility and affordability of probiotics for low-income households.

Developed a partnership plan between Western Heads East and Youth Opportunities Unlimited to establish a Fiti probiotic yogurt social enterprise in London Ontario. The purpose of this collaboration was to promote the consumption of GR-1 probiotics, a nutritious food with added health benefits that was discovered by a researcher at the University of Western. Achieving this goal involves making Fiti affordable for families, while also engaging young people in community outreach and leadership. 

Internship: Development & Advancement of The Fiti Probiotic Program In Tanzania

Selected for a funded internship in Mwanza, Tanzania to work with local communities and leaders on the promotion of probiotic and fermented foods. Moreover, the objectives of the internship also extended to include the exploration of opportunities for expanding partnership networks across East Africa. Supervision and mentorship were provided by internship hosts, St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) and Mikono Yetu.