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Michael Elmore Meegan

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Name  Michael Elmore-Meegan
Michael Elmore-Meegan

Thomas Michael Kevin Elmore-Meegan (born 26 March 1959, Liverpool), known as Michael Meegan, is a British-born Irish humanitarian, founder of several charities and non-governmental organisations, and a specialist in clinical epidemiology and international health.


ICROSS A Story about dying in Africa

Meegan co-founded the International Community for the Relief of Suffering and Starvation (ICROSS), an International aid agency operating in East Africa that describes itself as "a small international organisation working to fight poverty and disease in the poorest parts of the world.

ICROSS Ireland closed in 2012, causing ICROSS International, based in Kenya, to extend its own programmes.


Born in Liverpool of Irish and French parentage, Elmore-Meegan spent his childhood between Grenoble in the French Alps, Freshfield, Lancashire, and at Rishworth, Yorkshire. He spoke French and Latin by the age of ten. He was educated in Vaughan House and Bishops Court Prep School, Heathfield, Yorkshire. He was Baptised by John Heenan, later to be John Carmel Cardinal Heenan. He was inspired by the work of the Mill Hill Missionaries from an early age and had a passion for Africa and Asia.

In 1971, he moved to Dublin, attending Terenure College, Dublin, run by the Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel]] (the Carmelites), where he graduated in 1977. He entered the Roman Catholic Society of White Fathers - The Missionaries of Africa/Les Peres Blanc - hoping to become a missionary. Due to a serious burn injury and keloid damage he left the White Fathers, instead completing a degree in Philosophy at the Jesuit Institute at the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy (awarded by the Holy See), following which he entered the novitiate in the Society of Jesus. Later he took an M.Sc in Community Health from Trinity College TCD, Dublin (1988, Belief systems of the Maasai on diarrhoeal illness). His current research is a furthrt doctoral study in Tampere University, Finland where he is finalising a PhD in International Health.

After ecclesiastical training earning an Honours degree in Philosophy, Elmore-Meegan moved to Kenya at aged 20, where he settled in the Northern territories of the Great Rift Valley and began to perform aid work among the local people. This was largely funded by his own inheritance and by close personal friends. In 1978 his early drafts of spiritual axioms, All Shall be Well, later to be a series of reflections on poverty published by Collins (Fount Religious paperbacks). He began sculpting at an early age, mostly working in clay and bronze. He still does private commissions in bronze.

Since 1980, he has suffered a series of serious illnesses in Africa, ranging from Cerebral Malaria and amoebic and bacillic dystentry to Cholera. In 1992 and again in 1999 he received the Catholic last rites on three occasions. He has never married, and in the mid-1980s he adopted two Kenyans; a Samburu, Lemoite Lemako and a Maasai, Saruni OleKoitee OleLengeny, later to become assistant CEO of ICROSS Kenya, a role he held until July 2014.


His first involvement was in Karamoja, Uganda and then with a number of health and development projects with Dr Robbie McCabe in Turkana. He then expended his work into sections of northern Mogadishu in Somalia, developing and interest in infant health and nutrition. He began to work among the Samburu and Maasai people to address villages devastated by diseases such as malaria and tuberculous and the effects of repeated drought. He spent the 1980s mostly living amongst pastoral nomadic Turkana, Maasai and Samburu tribesmen in Uganda and Northern Kenya. A long-time friend of Wilfred Thesiger, he worked closely with traditional Samburu primarily north of Maralal.

In 1979 Meegan founded, with Joseph Barnes, the Community for the Relief of Starvation and Suffering (CROSS) which, by 1984, he renamed the International Community for Relief of Starvation and Suffering (ICROSS). ICROSS began funding health projects in Africa and India. He was supported in this work by Wilfred Koinange, Director of Medical Services of the Kenyan Ministry of Health. Together with Fr Paul Cunningham CSSp and Dr Evan Sequeira, Meegan established a series of community health programmes.

By 1985 he had built health clinics serving three pastoralist communities. Learning local tribal languages, Meegan created a unique approach to community development, insisting that any planning had to be done by the members of the local communities in the local languages, not by others. He pioneered a series of grassroots locally appropriate health interventions as part of integrated community health strategies in close collaboration with leading research institutions including the Institute of Child Health, London. He developed a series of locally appropriate methods for reducing infectious disease which have been widely adopted. In 1989 he established a branch of his charity in the USA. ICROSS East End expanded with the support of Norman Jaffe and Dr Kenneth Cairns MD in the Hamptons, Long Island, New York. ICROSS in Tanzania was established and quickly became self-supporting.

His work extended into reproductive health and eventually AIDS.

Under Meegan's leadership, ICROSS worked with a number of other organizations on a Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland led project, to develop a Solar water disinfection system that could be used by village households. He pioneered community ownership in community health services, campaigning for long term public health policies, planning in local languages and working through local cultures. His work on Diarrhoeal disease in Africa was widely cited and in 2010 he extended his innovations to recycling human waste into biogas.

By the early 2000s, Michael Meegan had become a prominent, if sometimes controversial, figure in Ireland whose fundraising activities for ICROSS attracted the public support of former Irish Prime Minister Garret FitzGerald and entertainment celebrities, including Elton John, Chris de Burgh, Caroline Corr, and Andrea Corr. His writing and charitable activity brought him Ireland's well-regarded 2003 International Person of the Year Award presented in a nationally televised ceremony by the Irish charity Rehab. Not all of these individuals have remained supporters, following subsequent inquiries into ICROSS's financial probity in Kenya.

Among many media works on Michael Meegan, in May 2005, Ireland's state-owned RTE televised a documentary about Meegan entitled When You Say 4000 Goodbyes. After the broadcast, Meegan's charity ICROSS received 400,000 euros in donations. On 19 November 2005, When You Say 4000 Goodbyes was shown at Harvard University's prestigious Magners Irish Film Festival.

On 5 May 2006, the documentary won the Radharc Award 2006 for the "documentary programme of outstanding quality which addresses a national or international topic of social justice, morality or faith."

Since 2009 Meegan has campaigned for changes in how AID is modelled and understood, moving from donor driven, to community driven planning of public health services. He has lectured across the world on Global health, including at the Helsinki Global health summit with Sir Michael Marmot on Global health Inequity 13 June 2012, where he spoke on Global inequity in Africa and South East Asia. He continues to lecture on the World stage for a Rights-based locally owned approach to development. He continues in 2014 to develop the ICROSS model of integrated holistic health care, stressing evidence based planning. His research into water borne disease and diarrhoeal disease continues to impact rural health programmes internationally. In November 2014 he launched the ICROSS Strategic Plan 2015-2020 and a series of community health rights based initiatives that would focus his charities towards a more international advocacy role.

Elmore-Meegan has also worked with photographer and video maker Manuel Scrima on several projects and exhibited across Europe sharing Africa Awakes for ICROSS. The awareness advocacy exhibitions have been seen in 12 countries, Italy, Spain, Finland, Ireland, UK, Germany, Hungary, and France, as well as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa.


Meegan, and the work of ICROSS have attracted controversy, in part because of concerns raised by Elmore-Meegan about the distribution of funds raised in Western countries in recent years by charities founded by him. The Irish branch of the organisation has been wound up as a result of his concerns. Meegan's qualifications have been questioned and those complaints disproved, and journalists and male former employees have alleged Meegan of sexual abuse, although cases that have gone to court have been unsuccessful, resulting in damages and payments by media to Meegan.

A case of defamation was won by Meegan after a former employee of ICROSS Kenya accused him of abuse, which he alleged had begun in 1986. The employee alleged financial impropriety on the part of Meegan over his use of charitable funds. The allegations were originally investigated by the Irish Mail on Sunday, who since were required to pay substantial damages, legal fees and court costs.

The former employee has since been charged by Kenya's Department for Public Prosecution with making false statements in July 2014. Meegan attempted to obtain a gag order in 2010 against the publication, which was subsequently denied by the court. The court ruled that the Irish Mail on Sunday provided enough evidence to support their publication of the accusations and that they had shown it was likely they would be able to defend any libel claim made by Meegan. In this, they failed before jury, but Meegan admitted to sharing a bed with one of his accusers. Meegan litigated successfully against the newspaper publishing them, but not their veracity, and suspicions remain. The apology stated “"The newspaper ought not to have published these allegations and had agreed not to do so. We apologise without reservation to Mr Meegan for the damage and distress caused to him as a result." Meegan later obtained a settlement for damages and costs from paper after filing a civil suit.

In November 2014 Meegan launched further defamation actions resulting from other publications in Ireland in the same year, which are pending.In July 2015, the Irish Examiner paid further settlement to Elmore-Meegan to avoid pending litigation. In July 2006, it was wrongly reported that Meegan misrepresented his credentials in a funding proposal, when Duke University USA was attempting to secure a multi-million dollar grant in the United States. He was dropped from the proposal, following a claim that he claimed to have a Doctorate from Knightsbridge University, a non-accredited university based in Denmark, following his master's degree at Trinity College Dublin.


  • 2008 Premio internazionale Exposcuola 2008 per l'impegno civile
  • 2008 Angelo della Pace
  • 2006 Fellow, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland
  • 2006 Graves Medal Dublin
  • 2006 Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine (DMed), National University of Ireland
  • 2003 International Person of the Year, ESB/Rehab People of the Year Awards
  • 1988 Past Pupil of the Year Award, Terenure College, Dublin (Note: Terenure College lists the 1988 award winners as Michael Meighan which may be a variant spelling of "Meegan.")
  • Books

  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael & Julius Konttinen, May 2016, ICROSS, A Celebration in Images
  • Meegan, Michael & Colin Meagle. 2016. Tribe of One: A Guide to Personal Happiness, London: Eye Books; ISBN 978-1-903070-63-5
  • Meegan, Michael. 2016. 100 Ways to Change the World, London: Eye Books; ISBN 978-1-903070-45-1.
  • Meegan, Michael & Sharon Wilkinson. 2008. Take My Hand.
  • Meegan, Michael. 2007. Changing the World from the Inside Out: Connecting Your Intelligences, London: Eye Books.
  • Meegan, Michael. 2004. All Will Be Well London: Eye Books; ISBN 978-1-903070-27-7.
  • Meegan, Michael. 2006. Surprised by Joy: Out of the Darkness - Light, a Story of Hope in the Midst of Tragedy, Dunboyne, Ireland: Maverick House; ISBN 978-1-905379-05-7.
  • Meegan, Michael. 1986. All Shall Be Well: On Compassion and Love, London: Fount; ISBN 978-0-00-627006-5.
  • Articles

  • Martella; Conroy, Ronan M.; Ligondo, Sophie; Hennessy, James; Elmore-Meegan, Michael; Soita, Allan; McGuigan, Kevin G. (2011). "Randomized Intervention Study of Solar Disinfection of Drinking Water in the Prevention of Dysentery in Kenyan Children Aged under 5 Years". Environ. Sci. Technol 45 (21): 9315–23. 
  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael; Ronan M. Conroy & C. Bernard Agala. 2004. Sex Workers In Kenya, Numbers Of Clients and Associated Risks: An Exploratory Survey, Reproductive Health Matters.
  • Meegan, Michael Elmore; Ronan M. Conroy, Sarune Ole Lengeny, Kate Renhaul, & J Nyangole. 2001. Effect On Neonatal Tetanus Mortality After A Culturally-Based Health Promotion Programme, The Lancet, 25 August.
  • Conroy, Ronan M., Michael Elmore Meegan, Tina M. Joyce, Kevin G. McGuigan & Joseph Barnes. 2001. Solar Disinfection of Drinking Water Protects Against Cholera in Children Under 6 Years of Age, Archives of Disease in Childhood
  • Conroy, Ronan M., Michael Elmore Meegan, Tina M. Joyce, Kevin G. McGuigan & Joseph Barnes. 1999. Solar Disinfection of Water Reduces Diarrhoeal Disease: An Update, Archives of Disease in Childhood.
  • Meegan, Michael & David Morley. 1999. Growth Monitoring: Family Participation: Effective Community Development, Tropical Doctor 29(1): 23-27.
  • McGuigan, Kevin G., Tina M. Joyce, Ronan M. Conroy, J.B. Gillespie, & Michael Elmore-Meegan. 1998. Solar Disinfection of Drinking Water Contained in Transparent Plastic Bottles: Characterizing the Bacterial Inactivation Process, Journal of Applied Microbiology.
  • Meegan, Mike, David Morley, & Desmond Chavasse. 1997. Fly Traps, The Lancet, 22 March.
  • Conroy, Ronan M., Michael Elmore-Meegan, Tina M. Joyce, Kevin G. McGuigan & Joseph Barnes. 1996.Solar Disinfection of Drinking Water and Diarrhoea in Maasai Children: A Controlled Field Trial, The Lancet, 21 December.
  • Joyce, Tina M. Kevin G. McGuigan, Michael Elmore-Meegan, & Ronan M. Conroy. 1996. Inactivation of Fecal Bacteria in Drinking Water by Solar Heating, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
  • Conroy, Ronan M. & Michael Elmore Meegan. 1994. Dwindling Donor Aid for Health Programmes in Developing Countries, The Lancet, 14 May 1994.
  • Meegan, Michael, Donald C. Morley, & R. Brown. 1994. Child Weighing by the Unschooled: A Report of a Controlled Study of Growth Monitoring Over 12 Months of Maasai Children Using Direct Recording Scales, Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
  • McCormick, James; & Michael Elmore-Meegan. 1992. Maasai Diet, The Lancet, 24 October.
  • Meegan, Michael. 1992. Rethinking Famine Relief, The Lancet, 21 November.
  • Meegan, Michael; & James, McCormick. 1988. Prevention of Disease in the Poor World, The Lancet, 16 July.
  • Konings, E., R.M. Anderson, Donald Morley, T. O'Riordan, Michael Meegan. 1986. Rates of Sexual Partner Change Among Two Pastoralist Southern Nilotic Groups in East Africa, AIDS, London, England.
  • Meegan, Michael. 1983.Starvation and Suffering, The Lancet, 31 December.
  • Meegan, Michael. 1981. The Reality of Starvation and Disease, The Lancet17 January.
  • References

    Michael Elmore-Meegan Wikipedia

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