Healthy Communities and Municipalities II: Our Impact

 {Photo credit: MSH}Graciela presents on the experience of her community in the city of Pucallpa.Photo credit: MSH

In rural Peru, persistent machismo—male chauvinism—often limits leadership opportunities for women. But in Monte de los Olivos, a poor rural community in Irazola District in the region of Ucayali, those now driving community development are female.

  The current generation of 1.8 billion adolescents—a quarter of the world's population—is the largest in history. MSH invests in the health of youth and engages them as leaders capable of generating dynamic ideas, creating new solutions, and mobilizing resources for sustainable health systems in their communities.

 {Photo credit: Benjamín Balarezo/MSH}Community leaders and authorities participate in first module of program for Moral Leadership and Community Management.Photo credit: Benjamín Balarezo/MSH

For many communities in Peru, the cultivation of illegal coca for drug trafficking, far from bringing prosperity, has only brought them fear and instability, an eroding community, and caused serious health problems primarily affecting women and children. This dark landscape is now changing for 41 rural communities in the Huanuco and Ucayali regions, who, in 2012 signed an agreement with the Peruvian government to stop growing coca.

 {Photo credit: MSH} Teens and girls from the community of Shambillo, in Padre Abad District, participate in a workshop on leadership, goal setting, and self esteem.Photo credit: MSH

In the rural Padre Abad district of Peru’s Ucayali region, located in the Amazon Rainforest, teenage girls are nearly twice as likely to have an early pregnancy between ages 15 and 19 than their peers across the country.  

Águida Curo Vican, at right, visiting a new community member to share information on healthy practices. {Photo credit: MSH}Photo credit: MSH

Peru’s maternal mortality rate remains among the highest in the Americas. Access to health care workers who speak indigenous languages such as Quechua is almost nonexistent. Chronic child malnutrition affects close to half of children under five years of age. And men pay little attention to areas considered "women's issues," such as maternal, child, and reproductive health. Fortunately, all of this is changing in the rural Peruvian community of Tutumbaru, thanks to Águida Vicaña Curo and the Local Development Committee (LDC).

Juan-Carlos Alegre

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems have played a critical role in advancing the field of global health, from applying quantitative and qualitative methods in collecting and using health data, to informing decision making, applying rigorous evaluations in assessing program effectiveness, and designing and conducting operational research that address implementation challenges.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Healthy Communities and Municipalities II Project (HCM II) in Peru.This five-year project is an Associate Award under the Global Leadership, Management and Sustainability Project.  HCM II will focus on improving maternal/child and family planning/ reproductive health in the regions of San Martin, Ayacucho, Ucayali and La Libertad by promoting community health practices that are proven to have the biggest impact.

Dr. Edgar Medina, HCM Project DirectorThe Healthy Communities & Municipalities (HCM) project in Peru aims to improve maternal and child health in areas lacking government and private sector investment. With funding from USAID, MSH's Leadership, Management and Sustainability program (LMS) has supported HCM since 2006, applying leadership and management principles to promote healthy lifestyles and behaviors, and to empower the Peruvian people through community and civic participation.  The project has expanded from 515 communities in 2006 to 1,764 today.MSH interviewed Dr.