Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Trace Kershaw

Second Advisor

Jeannette Ickovics


Background: After five years of programming, the SeriousFun Global Partnership Program (GPP) is looking to evaluate their model for programmatic and financial sustainability: specifically, among camp directors. To date, little is known about the facilitators and barriers camp directors face in working towards a sustainable program.

Objectives: To identify areas in which camp directors need more support from the SeriousFun staff to move towards programmatic and financial sustainability, and to highlight the Global Partnership Program's best practices for other public health programs striving for sustainability.

Design: A qualitative study that used in-depth telephone interviews with camp directors as well as face-to-face in-depth interviews with local SeriousFun staff.

Setting: Camp directors were located in nine countries (Cambodia, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, and Vietnam). SeriousFun staff was located in Westport, Connecticut.

Participants: Sixteen key informants were interviewed (eleven camp directors and five US-based SeriousFun staff).

Measurements: In-depth interviews were conducted in early 2013. Two coders trained in qualitative analysis used the constant comparative method to identify common themes amongst interviews.

Results: Six overarching themes categorized the facilitators and challenges camp directors face during implementation of the Global Partnership Program: global impressions, program benefits, implementation needs, cultural barriers, financial hardship, as well as logistical and staff related matters. Key results indicated that directors were well prepared to take over the camp programming due to support, training, and resources offered by SeriousFun but faced many difficulties in securing funding and a safe campsite.

Conclusions: The SeriousFun Global Partnership Program camps have had a positive impact on camp directors, camp staff, HIV+ children, their families, and local communities. The unique model of program and financial implementation used in the GPP could be beneficial to other programs hoping to build capacity, implement behavioral programs in international settings, and create leadership among local community partners. As they work towards sustainability, SeriousFun must provide more capacity building within their financial model, aid in creating a more permanent campsite, and address their future plans for growth as older programs become self-sustaining.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access