Partners in Health (PIH) is an NGO that was founded on the principle of preferential option of the poor in healthcare. Headquartered in Boston, the organization originally developed as a single community health project in Haiti, and has since expanded throughout Haiti and into a dozen other countries including Peru, Russia, and Mexico. PIH works in partnership with governments and local communities in each of these countries. The main goals of the organization are to provide health care and education to those most in need, to work to alleviate the causes of disease, and to share the ideas and lessons learned .
Definition of Opportunity
One of PIH’s central ideas is an approach to service through the model of accompaniment. The accompaniment approach to aid delivery is based on pragmatic solidarity with the poor. It proposes to build long-term relationships and mandates walking side by side rather than leading. This accompaniment model informs all of PIH's work; however, many within the organization are interested in a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the idea of accompaniment and its applications.
Initial Ideas & Options
· Identify the key principles of accompaniment that can be shared within the organization (globally there are some 15,000 people working with PIH) to promote awareness and understanding of accompaniment and its applications. Identify the most effective training, engagement, and other modalities to help build awareness and engagement around this idea within the organization.
· Focus on opportunities related to the University of Notre Dame that highlight accompaniment in connection with liberation theology as seen in the book In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez. There are mutiple opportunities for drawing from the work of past Notre Dame student teams on this topic, as well as an anticipated volume on the concept of accompaniment led by Paul Farmer, with co-editors Jennie Block and Steve Reifenberg.
Definition of Success
Development and use of new, effective training materials and other ways of engaging the PIH community on the understanding and use of the concept of accompaniment in all their work.