As an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to making a contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the 5H poverty reduction strategy is based on an unique approach towards sustainable rural development.
It recognizes that no external agent can bring about lasting change but that change and the required resources have to come from within the community in order to be sustainable in the long term. Therefore the recruitment and training of young people from the villages lies at the core of the approach.
The Youth Leadership Training Programme (YLTP) empowers young people to become leaders in the development process and to function as change agents
in their communities. They implement the 5H Programms (Health, Hygiene, Homes, Harmony in Diversity and Human Values) , which is a comprehensive intervention package that addresses the basic physical and social needs of the rural poor and disadvantaged.Through a range of measures such as health and cleanliness campaigns, establishment of garbage disposal systems, introduction of organic farming practices, and waste water as well as natural water resource management the overall environment of the community is improved, which ultimately leads to an improved health status, reduction in health care expenses, and increased work productivity of the individuals. Special emphasis is put on coupling our interventions with the provision of formal and informal primary education, in order to effectively break the inter-generation poverty transfer.
The Breath Water Sound workshop This is an essential and integral aspect of the programme, which distinguishes the IAHV initiative from that of other agencies. It addresses the well-being and social cohesion of the village communities empowering them as individuals and communities to bring about change. This growth of Human Values and Harmony in Diversity is achieved through the implementation of this specialised workshop, which caters specifically for the physical, mental and emotional needs of the villagers and results in overall improvements in their well-being. Besides teaching aspects of health and hygiene, the course also teaches aspects of yoga and meditation techniques. It creates a strong sense of belonging among the participants, which results in them taking personal responsibility for their own development, as well as that of their community.
The course creates a fun, stress free atmosphere, which attracts more people through continuous repetitions, ultimately reaching out into the whole community. Even minorities will participate in the courses along with the others, bringing them into integration with the mainstream village society. After the course the YLTP trained village youth leaders initiate a range of entry point activities such as cleanliness and health camps, which are of common concern to all villagers. These activities conducted with strong community participation lay a foundation for trust amongst all the village members. In addition the villagers gain faith in their own abilities, forming a sound basis for further development activities. Besides the Breath Water Sound workshop, the community is supported in organising themselves through the establishment of village management committees and Self Help Groups (SHG). The latter has a considerable influence on establishing gender equality by strengthening the position of the women in the villages, which are empowered to address their own needs effectively. Through these combined measures a major contribution has been made to the community empowerment and poverty alleviation.
Since its inception the 5H Programme has:
Been adopted by 25,000 villages in 25 states across India benefiting 10 million people
Trained 25,710 village youths in the Youth Leadership Training Programme
Employed 1,350 youths for the implementation of the 5-H Programme
Conducted over 75,000 Breath Water Sound Workshops benefiting more than 2.3 million people
Planted over 1.3 million trees
Facilitated the formation of 2,000 SHG with a membership of 35,000 villagers
Developed 50 model villages benefiting 100,000 people
Built 1000 homes
And in the year 2003 alone the 5H Programme has:
Conducted more than 28,350 cleanliness campaigns
Conducted 2,857 medical camps benefiting over 430,000 people
Since the launch of the first 5H Programme in India in 1999 IAHV has been able to increase its coverage by over 100% per year. The 5H Programme approach has now found international recognition and is currently in the initial stages of implementation in South Africa, Poland, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Latin America, Indonesia and even in USA.
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