Partners in Health (PIH) was founded in 1987 to bring quality medical care to rural Haiti. Since then, PIH has expanded to several countries around the world including Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Russia, Peru, and Navajo Nation in the United States. PIH also partners with several sister organizations to increase its ability to further its mission. In 2012, PIH launched its newest project in the Chiapas region of Mexico. PIH draws on the world’s best medical institutions to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. According to PIH’s mission statement, its mission is both medical and moral, and it is based on solidarity rather than charity alone.
Definition of Problem
One of PIH’s principal ideas is the approach to service, partnership, and engagement through accompaniment. The accompaniment approach to aid delivery is based on pragmatic solidarity with the poor. It proposes to build a different long-term relationship between that is traditional called “donor” and “recipient” and mandates walking side-by-side rather than leading. This model informs all the PIH does, including the way in which PIH uses funds to invest in the local community and meets the needs identified by local people. PIH believes that this idea—“from aid to accompaniment”—needs to become a much great part of the dialogue on international development, including the ways that an organization like PIH needs to “accompany” the public sector in the countries where it works. Although people inside and outside the organization often hear the term “accompaniment” many would have a hard time defining it and articulating how the principles impact the work of PIH. We hope to build awareness of this idea, and see how it can be integrated more fully into the training of PIH staff and friends, as well as serve as a training model for other interested organizations.
Initial Steps and Options
- Identify key principles of teaching of the concept “accompaniment” and how those concepts could most usefully be developed in an organizational context
- Working with the client, identify three to five non-profit or for-profit organizations that are particularly effective in training about key organizational concepts. Write short case studies that draw lessons from those experiences that would be useful to PIH as it is designing its own training programs.
- Promote awareness of this concept on a wider scale. How can PIH and other development organizations effectively engage people in a deeper understanding of the concept of accompaniment?
Definition of Success
It would be enormously helpful to have 1) an excellent set of three to five case studies of organizations particularly effective at training about key organizational concepts, and 2) outline (ideally with lesson plans) of a model for training new PIH staff members on the concept of accompaniment.