IHO’s self-help philosophy to help people help themselves is directed at both- individuals and communities. We do not believe that an external ‘Big-Brother’ is needed. Neither do we believe that mere provision of funds in isolation alone will succeed.
Thus, our programs continually empower the individuals to take care of themselves while we provide emotional, logistical support and minimal financial program support. Likewise, we encourage all stakeholders to contribute towards the common cause. We also do not believe that poverty is any excuse to give up and be completely dependent upon being spoon-fed.
IHO believes that in order to improve the health and well-being of any rural community in a developing country, the local community needs to be actively engaged the in the entire process.
Women being trained in health and hygiene
IHO’s self-help model is implemented by first identifying the communities in a given geographical area, then forming a “Village Advisory Board” consisting of representatives from all sectors of that community. This advisory board takes the lead in mobilizing the community and making the critical decisions. The community leaders and members at large donate their time and expertise to implement IHO programs with seed money and technology from IHO.
Integrated Inter-sectoral programs
IHO’s environmental and community health programs integrate the following sectors:
- Environmental health – primarily he prevention and control of water borne diseases.
- Improving the health of mothers and their children – which includes prenatal care, post-natal care, reproductive health and immunization and nutrition for children.
- Training of women in healthcare along with vocational training.
At every program level, we involve the local population in every possible way so that there is local ownership and sustainability of the programs. Ultimately, IHO endeavors to prepare a local cadre of women health educators who can continue to educate and serve their communities even after the successful completion of IHO’s programs
The IHO model has integrated different complementary preventive health programs in order to provide a more comprehensive program. IHO strongly believes that for the poorest populations in developing countries, health sector programs need to be integrated with other sectors. For example, the interdependent sectors of vocational training, community development programs and environmental health programs when integrated helps achieve the goal of women’s empowerment.
IHO forms partnerships with local government and non-government agencies. Together with the help of these agencies our programs are more successful. The diagram above illustrates how we engage these different agencies to provide our integrated rural health programs.