Self-help Model


Self-help Approach

IHO believes that in order to improve the health of any rural community in South Asia, the community’s environmental conditions need to be improved first and that this ought to be accomplished by actively engaging the local community 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. IHO’s environmental and community health programs consist of three levels:

  1. Environmental health issues, primarily he prevention and control of water borne diseases.
  2. Improving the health of mothers and their children, which includes prenatal care, post-natal care, reproductive health and immunization and nutrition for children.
  3. Training of women in health areas 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.

integrated appraoch


The IHO model has integrated different overlapping health programs in order to provide a more comprehensive program. IHO strongly believes that for the poorest populations in remote villages of South Asia, health sector programs also 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 to the right illustrates how we engage these different agencies to provide our integrated rural health programs.