With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), CI began implementing the Healthy Families, Healthy Forests project in October 2002. The idea for this project came from language that was included in the Congressional Appropriations bill that encouraged USAID to provide family planning in areas of high biodiversity. USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health (OPRH) turned to the conservation organizations working in these high biodiversity areas – such as CI, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) – to implement these projects, often with health and development organizations as partners.
Since 2002, USAID has assembled a diverse portfolio of PHE projects, ranging from field-based integrated health and conservation projects, to communications and outreach, and knowledge management and information dissemination. Throughout this period, CI worked closely with many of these partners, such as CARE Cambodia, Malagasy Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), local and regional government authorities, Population Reference Bureau (PRB), MEASURE Evaluation, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the Global Health Fellows Program, in order to test out PHE models and gather data to better understand the effects of our projects.
Through this integrated health and conservation project, CI worked in the most remote, biologically diverse areas of the world: Cambodia, the Philippines and Madagascar. We worked in the Cardamom (Mountains) Conservation Landscape (CCL) in southwestern Cambodia, the Zahamena-Mantadia Biological Corridor in eastern Madagascar, and the Sierra Madre Biodiversity Corridor (SMBC) in northern Philippines.
CI’s PHE projects have achieved results in both health and conservation goals/outcomes, such as:
- Providing much needed health services to rural, poor populations
- Training cadres of local health care professionals in health and conservation
- Promoting behavior change and educating the next generation about the importance of conservation
- Building the capacity to pursue alternative livelihoods through improved forest management.
CI and partners across the world have worked to improve the daily lives of remote, vulnerable populations living in some of the most biodiversity-rich environments on the planet. We have increased human wellbeing, while at the same time conserving vital biodiversity. We have attempted to bridge the gaps that continue to separate the fields of conservation, health, population, and development by promoting integrated approaches that recognize conservation as a social issue.
IN DEPTH: Learn more about Conservation International's mission and strategy.
Each country program has adopted an integrated conservation and health objective and has selected partners based on existing relations in the target communities and complementary skills to existing CI staff and activities.
CI-Philippines staff based in the northern Sierra Madre Biodiversity Corridor worked with local government units and community-based health workers to implement reproductive health and family planning campaigns among communities. We built networks of locally trained community health workers and educators.
These local networks promoted the links between improving family health and decreasing pressures on natural resources through targeted Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaigns. Participatory community activities delivered messages that were designed to change individual and family behavior through improved health and conservation practices.
In addition, CI Philippines worked with community-based natural resource management committees and organizations to implement alternative livelihood strategies, foster community-based natural resource management and promote conservation friendly enterprises, all of which ultimately led to improved stewardship of biodiversity.
IN DEPTH: Learn more about our projects to improve human health in the Philippines.
In Madagascar, CI worked with local NGOs, MATEZA and ASOS, in a partnership to deliver comprehensive health services (reproductive health, maternal and child health) in the biologically rich conservation corridor of Zahemena Mantadia in the eastern part of Madagascar. MATEZA worked in the north of the corridor near Fenerive, and ASOS worked in the south near Brickaville.
Each organization depended on field agents in these remote areas to deliver health services and educate farmers and their families about alternatives to tavy, or slash-and-burn agricultural practices.
Mateza encouraged farmers adopting alternative techniques to teach other farmers the skills they need, while ASOS helped communities set goals in health, environment, and conservation.
IN DEPTH: Get more information about CI's projects in Madagascar.
In Cambodia, CI partnered with CARE Cambodia and the association of Buddhists for the Environment in the eastern Cardamoms to implement a holistic reproductive health and family planning outreach program coupled with IEC and livelihood activities about sustainable forest management and alternative use of non-timber forestry products.
In addition, CI engaged local stakeholders in community land use planning exercises to determine local conservation and development priorities.
IN DEPTH: Discover what CI and partners are doing to help people and nature thrive in Cambodia.