Hesperian Health Guides
Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!
Make a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.
The creation of Health Actions for Women has been a labor of love initiated by a group of women devoted to ensuring that the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women gain access to information and improve their lives. This effort grew out of the Hesperian newsletter, the Women’s Health Exchange, a collaboration among community organizers and women’s health educators. Dr. Melissa Smith, the medical editor of Where Women Have No Doctor and a contributor to the Exchange, convened a steering group with Hesperian staff members to shape and guide the project. Our deep appreciation goes to this international group of remarkable women — Lucille Atkin along with Deborah Billings, Mirai Chatterjee, Jill Hackett, May Haddad, Catherine Muthoni, Pallavi Patel, Paula Rojas, Paola Sesia, and Aruna Uprety — who so generously contributed their knowledge, experience, creativity and time to move this project from a dream to a reality. Jane Maxwell deserves special recognition for nurturing this project and its process, passionately engaging the participation of a wide and varied international network of community-based groups and individuals.
Field testing by 41 community-based partners in 23 countries brought together diverse groups of younger and older women, groups that combined adolescent girls with young married women, and mixed gender groups. An astounding 1,400 people participated in discussions, tried out activities, and submitted their feedback and insights about the issues most important to their communities.
Many thanks to the following community-based groups who contributed so much of their hearts, time, and experiences to help us make this book as useful as possible to women all over the world:
Bangladesh: Change Associates
Cambodia: Women’s Resource Center
China: Yunnan Health and Development Association (YHDRA)
Ethiopia: Venture Strategies Innovations (VSI)
Ghana: One Africa Research Development and Extension Programme, Village Exchange Ghana, Widows Fight
Guatemala: Centro Ecuménico de Integración Pastoral Quetzaltenango, Centro de Educación y Recuperación Nutricional Emmanuel (CERNE), Asociación de Servicios Comunitarios de Salud (ASECSA), Tan Ux’il
Guinea: Today’s Women International Network (TWIN)
India: Centre for Health Education, Training and Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA), Jamkhed Institute for Training in Community Health and Development, SAMA Health Forum, Self-employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Tathapi Trust
Kenya: National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE), Rehma Ta Allah Community Development Group
|Lebanon: Women’s Humanitarian Organization (WHO)|
Liberia: Women’s Solidarity Inc. (WOSI), Planning, Empowering, Advocating for Community Endeavors (PEACE)
Malawi: Girls Empowerment Network (GENET)
Mexico: Comité por una Maternidad Sin Riesgos Oaxaca, Grupos de Estudio sobre la Mujer Rosario Castellanos
Mongolia: Princess Center
Nepal: Rural Health Education Services Trust (RHEST)
Nigeria: Family-Centered Initiatives for Challenged Persons (FACICP)
Pakistan: Social Transformation and Educational Prosperity (STEP), Women in Need (WIN)
Rwanda: The Ihangane Project
Sierra Leone: Midwives on Missions of Service (MOMs)
US/Choctaw Nation: JourneyWomen
Zambia: Central Action on HIV/AIDS (CAHA)
These organizations have been invaluable in supporting the development of this book in many ways: Ipas, The Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven) and Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy & Leadership Initiative (AGALI) of the Public Health Institute, Global Fund for Women, and CARE, Peru.
And a heartfelt thanks to the countless others who gave so freely of their time, talents and support, especially:
Miriam Bird Greenberg
Melissa Smith thanks Charles Hale, and Amalia and Sofia Smith Hale for their abiding support, wise counsel, love and accompaniment throughout the book development process; and my parents, Dorothy and Palmer Smith, for their example of working for the common good. I also thank the community health workers and midwives who I have had the privilege of working with in Central America and Mexico, whose creativity and passion for social justice have guided my own life’s path. Sarah Shannon thanks the women of El Salvador, whose tireless work for social justice and gender equality has inspired me and so many others; and Pedro, Mercedes, Phyllis, Robin and other colleagues from Conta for all you taught me about being a popular educator. Kathleen Vickery thanks the remarkable women who founded Isis International in Santiago, Chile, and all who have shared their wisdom, struggles and visions of change through the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network. Their pioneering advocacy helped midwife the global women’s health movement and inspired my contributions to this book.