Promoting health and well-being across all sectors

Good health is the engine of growth.

The theme of health and well-being is centrally positioned within the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda, and is explicitly outlined in SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. We cannot deny the importance of this goal, especially when we look at global health related data.

Globally, 23% of children globally were affected by stunting (WHO, 2016) whilst it is estimated that anaemia affects around 800 million children and women, 4.3 million people a year die prematurely from illness attributable to the household air pollution caused by fuels for cooking (WHO), 2.4 billion people do not use improved sanitation, and an additional 663 million who do not have access to an improved water source (UN), to name a few.

How SNV works towards good health

Although SDG 3 covers major health targets, health is also related to other indicators including nutrition, water, sanitation, air quality, and poverty. It requires the consideration of other SDG targets that allow health in society to flourish. Therefore, realising SGD 3 will entail integrated approaches and multisectoral action to address complex challenges linked to extreme poverty, economic inequality and climate change.

Our mission at SNV is to make a lasting difference in the lives of millions of people living in poverty. Although our activities are not primarily health focussed, we do look at the context of our beneficiaries. If we want our projects to succeed, if we want people to lift themselves out of poverty, it is necessary that fatigue and disease does not wear them down.Smart development is using our expertise across sectors;access to agriculture (SDG 2), economic markets (SDG 8), water and sanitation (SDG 6), and clean energy (SDG 7), all in a sustainable manner (SDG 13).

Food, income and mosquito nets

Today, nearly 800 million people are living under the international poverty line (World Bank, 2016), and this hampers their health and well-being. In developing countries, many people face barriers that prevent them from gaining access to expertise, resources and markets. Access to these means could essentially alleviate their situation and provide more sustainable livelihoods. Our agricultural activities have a driven goal to reduce poverty by opening the doors for poor people and increasing their access to sustainable farming, to job opportunities (particularly the youth). We promote healthy living through good and varied nutritional diets. [BK1] Responding and adapting to specific contexts is key, as shown in Shea Butter Community Commerce Project, where malaria was threatening the lives of women producers, so the project provided health checks and insurance, as well as mosquito nets. This action ensured their continued economic participation and reduced health risks.

Mangroves and cookstoves

People who still rely on cooking methods that expose them to harmful fuels remains high. Open fires are silent killers. SNV accelerates the transition from traditional cooking methods to clean and affordable household energy. In the fisheries and mangroves project we integrate several approaches to improve health including improved cookstoves, better hygiene practises, varied diets to influence anaemia risks, and continual household income through value chains. Voila, Agriculture, WASH and Energy in one project.

Cleanliness and school attendance

Creating a healthy society cannot do without proper sanitation and waste management. Inadequate urban sanitation services are just as dangerous as continual open defecation, it can exacerbate human infections and water-borne infections like diarrhoea that are spread through contact of faeces. SNV’s Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All has been designed to ensure tangible impacts in a community’s health and quality of life. This includes, hygienic practises such as washing your hands with soap which may sounds obvious, but it is one of the most effective interventions for improving health and preventing the spread of disease. In addition, the Faecal Sludge Management project in Bangladesh is responding to the lack of sewage systems and treatment facilities that pollute the soil and surrounding waterways. Our actions in the field, also tackle crippling issues such as Menstrual Hygiene Management in Bhutan, and WASH in Schools which poses health risks and increased school drop-outs.

For more stories, on how we contribute to SDG3, click on the images below to read some more inspiring stories, or join our online conversation via our social media channels (TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn):

Hygiene and the pursuit of happiness

Healthy Food Markets

Let's Talk About Sex

Urban Sanitation in Bangladesh

Towards a Malaria-Free Women Sheabutter Cooperative in Northern Ghana

Realising business opportunities in household sanitation in Rwanda

Stopping at ODF is not an option

The link between energy access and health outcomes

Health insurance makes positive impact on apparel workers and factory owners

Inclusive Business for RMG workers’ health in Bangladesh

Making health & well-being a priority in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - Clean Cooking in Ghana

Making the collection of “Women’s Gold” safer for women in Ghana

A sanitation revolution sweeps across South Asia

Handwashing with soap consumption - a consumer insight

Sanitation marketing for improved handwashing technologies in Zambia