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> Poverty Reduction and Health > In theory

In theory

Background
As the world advances in improving technology, educational and health systems, not everyone has the possibility to access these improvements. The current trends of consumption and irresponsible exploitation of resources are excluding people and provoking an increase in the social-economic gap between rich and poor and as a result leading also to the deterioration of their health.
Despite efforts made by IVS organisations and networks on poverty reduction and health-related issues, there is still more to be done. Specific trainings and seminars have contributed to the development of cultural competencies and to the implementation of poverty reduction and health promotion activities in different cultural settings and socio-economic environments. IVS activities in the field of poverty reduction and health promote economically viable initiatives and a participative dialogue on Health-related issues, in particular through the non-formal education methodology, empowering people to positively influence perceptions and behaviours of their peers, local communities and organisations. In Africa and Asia, non-formal education has been promoted using performing arts, Forum Theatre in particular, to create innovative cooperation between volunteers, communities and local and national authorities.

The 10 year strategic plan for IVS 2011-2021 envisages:

Vision
A world where every person has the opportunity to achieve their potential, contribute to and participate in a prosperous and healthy society.

Strategic objectives
A. Empower communities to engage in initiatives that promote health-issues There is need to empower community members and build their capacity in various community interventions so as to respond effectively to different health issues. This may result in an increased number of stakeholders engaged in the promotion of a healthy world. Community participation should be a cornerstone of health promotion programmes in order to ensure ownership of such initiatives and maximise the impact.
In order to address health problems, there must be a secure and developing knowledge base, high levels of political commitment and civil society engagement. Networking among IVS organisations and other stakeholders needs to be promoted and this should result in creating healthy societies.
Health intervention programmes have to be differentiated and locally adapted to the relevant social, economic and cultural context in which they are implemented.
As a non-formal education tool, IVS has the potential to influence and contribute to the implementation of initiatives that could help improve health conditions. IVS action in this field can be carried out using a variĀ­ety of media including performing arts, music, Forum Theatre, school visits, seminars and trainings.

B. Empower communities to engage in initiatives that respond to Poverty Reduction
Community members can be empowered through the development of skills and knowledge, and the initiation of activities which are aimed at increasing the number of stakeholders engaged in poverty reduction, leading to a prosperous world.
In order to achieve these goals, training programmes on fundraising, resource mobilisation and organisational development, especially for multipliers will be key strategic actions. In addition, the promotion of exchange of staff and active members of organisations to improve the organisational capacities is seen as a priority action for this field.

C. There is a need for the political will from government bodies to support IVS initiatives and projects in order to address poverty.
The lack of financial resources to empower communities must be counterbalanced by the participation of the private sector to help in the implementation of IVS projects. Furthermore, initiating and promoting income-generating projects and micro credits schemes should contribute to the generation of resources to achieve our goals.

Resources
LMTV Global Handbook White Paper on International Voluntary Service Gender sensitivity at (voluntary) work
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