Sustainability is inextricably linked with human rights and health, particularly family planning. Pathfinder’s Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) approach seeks to integrate reproductive health and empowerment with interventions that help communities manage their natural resources and conserve the critical ecosystems on which they depend. Experience with PHE programs in remote rural areas shows that addressing challenges to reproductive health and the environment simultaneously can have greater impact and be more cost-effective than approaching each separately.
In Uganda and Kenya, Pathfinder is currently implementing the second phase of the Health of People and Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) project. HoPE-LVB contributes to the sustainable development of the Lake Victoria Basin and the well-being of its population through the PHE approach. The project includes youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, maternal and child health care, primary health care, sanitation and hygiene, and natural resource management. Pathfinder also works with partner organizations to encourage sustainable agriculture and fisheries practices, environmentally-friendly alternative livelihoods, gender equality, and integrated messaging that emphasizes the inter-relatedness of the human and environmental factors.
In Tanzania, Pathfinder is implementing the Tuungane project, a PHE initiative focused on the rural villages of Lake Tanganyika and the Greater Mahale Ecosystem. The goal of Tuungane is to reduce natural resource degradation and threats to biodiversity conservation—Lake Tanganyika is a remarkable “inland ocean” and home to more than 300 species of fish—while simultaneously providing communities with more sustainable livelihoods and greater access to contraceptives, sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and youths, maternal and child health care, and primary health care. Since the beginning of 2015,Tuungane has scaled up from six pilot villages to all 24 villages in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem area.