Ahimsa Fund and “global health”: another approach to healthcare around the world

Some consider that healthcare is divided into various sectors: medications are in one segment, syringes in another, doctors in a third, and so on. However, healthcare is quintessentially interdisciplinary, encompassing aspects such as awareness-raising and training, hygiene, nutrition, education and, of course, medical treatment and follow-up.

In order to work towards healthcare for the most underprivileged populations, Ahimsa Fund is thus based on a broad premise, putting into practice projects that are no less wide-ranging. But how is the vision provided by Ahimsa Fund, through this global health approach, different from any other?


Working towards worldwide healthcare by thinking in terms of “global health”

Ahimsa Fund emphasizes the importance of considering healthcare from an innovative and holistic global health perspective, rather than considering issues in isolation: all of its initiatives stem from this concept. Each of its projects is conceived as part of an inclusive dynamic, involving the entire public health community, both locally and internationally. But that is not all. If there is a hospital to be built, the Ahimsa Fund project will bring together local industrial managers and construction companies, and put them in contact with the establishment directors, so as to create a local network or human ecosystem capable of confronting any problems that may occur.


Innovative public health projects call for innovative ideas

Opposition, whether from social, ethnic, religious or even professional elements, is the scourge of our time. When there is dissent and disagreement, it is always those who have least who suffer most. The dream and ambition of Ahimsa Fund is to overcome these differences:

  • to eliminate them at a global level, through increasing numbers of international partnerships, particularly between humanitarian and private entities;
  • to eliminate them also at a local level, by encouraging community structures and local businesses to work hand in hand with each other.

Jean-François de Lavison, founder of Ahimsa Fund, summarizes the approach as follows:

“Our differences are strengths on which we must build our future, not constraints behind which we should hide.” 

Ahimsa Fund sets an example, with all of its departments working together!


Access to care through social entrepreneurship: profitable and sustainable projects

Ahimsa Fund does not believe in handouts or charity. Instead, it prefers to implement projects with the direct involvement of local populations. The aim is to enable these populations to create wealth that will, ultimately, fund the project. Thus, by basing its work on social entrepreneurship and innovative solutions such as microloans, Ahimsa Fund makes it possible for these projects to eventually become profitable and, therefore, sustainable.

Uterine cancer screening project
This was the case for the Burundian uterine cancer screening project which not only saw mothers contributing to the cost of testing, but also resulted in Maison Shalom establishing cooperatives thanks to microloans. Members of underprivileged populations have started growing vegetables, with part of their profits being used to fund the hospital. This is a tremendous example of local involvement in the creation of wealth.
Catering training project
Another example is the catering training project for young people from Philippine slums, supported by the Paul Bocuse Foundation: the proportion of revenue paid to the Gawad Kalinga association ensures that this project remains profitable and thus sustainable.

Words from Tony Meloto

“Although western entrepreneurs have much to offer in terms of management, market and business expertise, they don't know the land as well as the poor peasant farmers know it. This disconnect serves to exacerbate inequalities.” With these words, Tony Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga, sums up perfectly Ahimsa Fund's perspective. A public healthcare project can be effective in the long term only if it based on a broad outlook and deep-rooted collaboration. Tony Meloto, our Philippine partner continues, “This is the aim of social entrepreneurship: to re-establish a connection between peoples, countries and cultures.”

Ahimsa Fund could not do better than to borrow from Nelson Mandela's investiture speech: “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”