Engage community-led solutions for human health and the health of our planet.
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Alexiandrea Borden is a photographer who has donated her incredible prints for ASRI's Community Hospital and Training Center. They are featured prominently in ASRI's patient areas and community meeting room, reminding staff and visitors that our shared climate means icebergs in Greenland rely on healthy rain forests in Borneo - as trees fall, the ice melts. Her work has even inspired our ASRI Teens to begin conservation outreach in local shops!
Today, Alexiandrea shares her experience below of photographing these icy wonders and has made her prints available for you to order from our Gift Shop! We will continue to add more of her beautiful photos to our shop over time, and please let us know if you find one you love that's not available yet.
International Program Director Kari Malen is saying goodbye to Health In Harmony after almost a decade! Kari's knowledge of, dedication to, and passion for our mission will be missed. Here, Kari shares a farewell message for Health In Harmony and its supporters:
Nine years ago, I showed up on ASRI’s doorstep with a passion for reforestation and a desire to help make good happen in the world. Health In Harmony and ASRI family took me in like one of their own. I started as a volunteer helping to plan and oversee reforestation work with communities on the edge of Gunung Palung National Park; a dream come true, and, well, I just didn’t want to leave.
Last month, we welcomed Ashley Emerson as Health In Harmony's new Program Director. With a Masters in International Development, Community, and Environment from Clark University and years of experience leading and developing international programs around the world, we are thrilled to have her on the team. And to give you the chance to get to her know too, we sat down with her this week for an interview.
“This is my first time seeing an orangutan in the wild with my own eyes,” said Tian.
Tian is one of several students involved in ASRI Teens, an after-school conservation education curriculum for high schoolers through ASRI's Planetary Health Education Program. Similar to ASRI Kids, which targets primary and middle schoolers, the ASRI Teens study issues related to health and our environment. They also go outdoors to learn, and last November went on an overnight field trip with International Animal Rescue (IAR).
Kebun Keluarga (Kitchen Gardens) is one of ASRI's conservation programs, focusing on alternative livelihood development. This program works with women who live around Gunung Palung National Park, teaching them how to cultivate the small plots of land they manage next to their homes.
Since 2007, Health In Harmony and our partner Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) have reduced illegal logging (by 89% as of 2017), achieved important health outcomes (such as reducing infant mortality rate), and helped lift families living around Gunung Palung National Park (GPNP) out of poverty. We’ve done this by using radical listening to facilitate community-designed solutions to the integrated problems that people face. Could the same approach work in other parts of the world?
“Now we have hope. Now we KNOW change is possible!”
This is what one man told Kinari about his community over the last ten years. Health In Harmony has focused on data since creating a baseline survey in 2007 to monitor behavior change and health impact over time. But we haven’t figured out a way to quantify hope. We can’t quite measure how important respect, love, and commitment are to the changes we see (though we’re working on it!).
Dear friends of Health In Harmony,
I just got back from a wonderful seven weeks in Kalimantan and I want to thank you all for helping make the hospital possible. Because of visa issues, I had not actually been back since November when the ASRI team officially moved into the building. So for me, the last time I saw the building was in the first week of the team using it.
Interview with Adam Phillipson, the Great Apes Program Officer at the Arcus Foundation, who visited our partner ASRI in May.
Guest blog by Arvian Heidir
Meet members of the ASRI team through this beautiful photo series by supporter, Arvian Heidir. Read More
Thanks to so many donors, supporters, and friends, our flagship partner ASRI celebrated their 10th anniversary on July 13th. To mark this incredible occasion, ASRI hosted an open house and festival on hospital grounds. Read More
Health In Harmony’s (HIH) next phase is to expand the conservation and human health reach by replicating the model. Behind the scenes, HIH staff -- with input from our partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) and the HIH Board of Directors -- have been busy looking into possibilities and thinking about ways to effectively improve lives, reducing the pressure on protected areas and successfully conserve precious ecosystems. As that work continues, we wanted to take a moment to share with you one of the opportunities we are pursuing. But first, let’s talk about methodology.
Guest blog by Stella Lesmana
If my “Borneo bracelet” breaks, that’s the sign that I should visit Sukadana again.
That was my promise. Finally on February 20, 2017 I landed again in Ketapang.
How often do we spend time seriously envisioning a positive future for humanity? Most of our collective visioning is filled with doom and gloom and warnings of impending collapse. These dystopian futures have their place as they can warn us of the consequences of continuing along a given path, but we can lose hope and direction if that is all we have.
The first two parts of this series outlined the conservation challenges in Borneo and our efforts to combat deforestation by engaging communities. The question now is whether our solutions work. But when dealing with issues that combine economics, health care, social justice, and conservation biology, how do you measure progress? Planetary health is an emerging discipline and we are using methods that have not been tried before. So there aren’t many clear benchmarks for comparison.
We can start by asking what success would look like. For Health In Harmony’s Indonesian partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), complete success would mean 1) zero deforestation in Gunung Palung National Park, 2) a return of the park to 100% natural vegetation cover, and 3) net forest growth throughout the region. And we would have achieved those goals by creating healthy communities that are invested in the long-term integrity of the natural landscape. So how do we stack up against those goals?
With summer now in full swing, you might be looking for some great reads for those lazy beach days and long road trips. We've got you covered with five thought-provoking books to bring you up to speed on all things conservation, global health, and planetary health. Read More
Part 2 of 3 - Our Solution. Read Part 1 here.
Health In Harmony’s mission and that of their Indonesian partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), is a difficult one—stopping forest loss in western Borneo, a region with one of the world’s highest deforestation rates (check out Part I for an introduction to the problem). As planetary health professionals, we seek solutions that address the underlying social conditions that lead to forest loss. But those social factors are complicated, involving issues like government policy, population growth, poverty, indigenous rights, gender equality, and education. Tackling such a complex problem requires comprehensive and flexible solutions and more than a bit of creativity.
Focusing on the area around Gunung Palung National Park, ASRI uses a 5-pronged approach that combats deforestation on multiple fronts.
Part 1 of 3 - The Problem
To many people, Borneo is a remote and wild place, an unspoiled tropical island teeming with dense forests, wildlife, and traditional cultures. Throughout the early twentieth century, this view was partly true; the island was over 75% forested and was home to hundreds of thousands of orangutans and other wildlife, in addition to diverse communities of people speaking dozens of different languages. Read More
Guest blog by YungAh Lee
Every morning I had something to look forward to as I biked to the ASRI hospital.
A small boy greeted me like a happy sunflower, shouting a big hello with his hand stretched out. I can't remember what he looks like because every time I biked past him I was often distracted by his mother’s pop-up stand selling pineapples, bananas, other tropical fruits that I cannot name. But I do remember his lively voice, launching off my day with a fortissimo.
I’ve just returned from my first visit to Indonesia, where our programs have been co-designed and executed by our Indonesian program partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI).
I met former loggers trained to be sustainable farmers and small business owners. I walked through rain forests regenerated and protected for the health of thousands of species and the planet. I explored the beautiful, recently constructed hospital, and met the men, women, and children who can access life-saving health care there every day thanks to the generosity of our donors.