Making the connections, sustaining real change

We recognise the inextricable links between poor health, unmet family planning needs, food insecurity, environmental degradation and vulnerability to climate change.

In response to these interconnected challenges, we have developed a holistic approach integrating community health services with marine conservation and coastal livelihood initiatives.

Our distinctive style of working has emerged through conversations with our partner communities, who have challenged us to appreciate the ways in which human and ecosystem health are intertwined.

Our unconventional journey in conservation began through listening. We learned that people in Velondriake, Madagascar’s first locally managed marine area, thought that fish stocks would collapse without improved access to family planning. We also saw that, as a field-based organisation working in these isolated communities, we were ideally positioned to address this critical unmet need.

We started incorporating reproductive health services into our fisheries management initiatives in 2007. Since then, we have expanded this programme to serve over 25,000 people across more than 60 communities along Madagascar’s west coast. From seaweed aquaculture to maternal and child health, our interdisciplinary teams now work closely together to coordinate their activities and identify opportunities for cost-sharing between all of our programmes.

We engage communities in a variety of environmental and health topics through small group discussions, interactive theatre and school workshops. Exploring the connections between different themes enables us to broaden our reach, for example, getting men talking about family planning and involving women in fisheries management.

Population-Health-Environment

Our holistic way of working is often referred to as “Population-Health-Environment” (PHE) because of the way that such an integrated portfolio of programmes reflects the relationships between people, their health and the environment.

The PHE approach empowers people to make their own family planning choices, while equipping them with the skills they need to manage their resources sustainably. It has been shown to produce greater impacts than single-sector interventions, and to generate additional benefits such as the increased engagement of women in alternative livelihood activities.

We have presented the results of our holistic model worldwide, including at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the World Conservation Congress and the International Conference on Family Planning. It won the St Andrews Prize for the Environment in 2014, the Excellence in Leadership for Family Planning (EXCELL) Award in 2013, and the Buckminster Fuller Challenge in 2011.

Our impact

Couples are empowered to plan and better provide for their families; improving food security, allowing women to play a more active role in fisheries management, and bolstering local conservation efforts. Coastal communities are able to live more healthily and sustainably with their marine environment, building social and ecological resilience to climate change.

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people reached by BV’s integrated conservation and community health programmes

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unintended pregnancies averted to date

Find out more

PHE

Supporting partners to work holistically

We developed a PHE programme in the Velondriake area of southwest Madagascar from 2007, and replicated this approach further north along the coast in Belo sur Mer from 2013 and in the Barren Isles from 2015.

Having experienced the immense value of integrating community health services with our marine conservation initiatives, we are now supporting partners in Madagascar, Mozambique and beyond to adopt this approach.

We are advancing the development of a national PHE network in Madagascar, bringing together health and environmental NGOs to facilitate cross-sector partnerships. We are offering technical advice and mentoring to various marine conservation partners starting to implement PHE programmes with health agencies including Marie Stopes Madagascar, proposing learning exchanges and training courses, convening meetings to share experiences, and collating impact data to communicate to a variety of stakeholders.

 

Latest news & blogs

04
May

FHI 360: Research on integrated development: These are a few of my favorite things

FHI 360 have listed Blue Ventures' PHE approach as an example of promising and important integrated development in their Research & Evaluation blog.
30
Mar

Blog: Realising their potential: scholars in profile - Narison

The first blog in a new "Scholars in Profile" series marking the 10 year anniversary of our Education programme supporting youth in the Velondriake area.
20
Mar

Scuba Diver Life: Conservation Spotlight: Blue Ventures

Scuba Diver Life have been profiling conservation organisations, and they recently talked with Richard Nimmo, Blue Ventures' Managing Director, about our mission and how to get involved.
10
Mar

Madagascar PHE Network: PHE resources launched!

Population-Health-Environment (PHE) partnerships guide and PHE story cards (an integrated PHE community outreach tool) are now available for download!

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