Our intersectional approach to designing and implementing complementary and integrated interventions that work across multiple health and development sectors ensures our programs reflect the holistic needs of those we serve. 

While most international development programs are built around siloed sectors that in turn create siloed programs, EngenderHealth does things differently. We seek to serve the whole person in the context of their communities. We ensure that the most underserved and marginalized populations are included and meaningfully engaged from the start of our program planning and we ensure that we build equitable partnerships to implement programs. EngenderHealth meets our community members–including those living with disabilities, fistula survivors, and young people–where they are and with the services and support they need at the time they need it.

We understand that every part of a person’s life is interconnected. For example, nutrition must be included within the larger scope of our Maternal & Obstetric Care work because if a pregnant person does not consume nutritious food, they are more likely to have a low-birth-weight baby. A lower-birth-weight baby is more likely to have poor childhood nutrition, with adverse effects impacting their overall health, including reproductive health, continuously compounding across their entire life. Likewise, if you live in an area that is constantly affected by turmoil and shocks, both natural and humanmade, you are less likely to have access to the healthcare that you need during pregnancy and childbirth. We must therefore look at Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) and emergency and disaster relief efforts as vital intersections within our programming.

We cannot look at a woman’s access to nutrition or adequate and available maternal healthcare as separate or distinct from each other because they are intimately connected–it is only through a holistic, integrated approach that treats these intersections within a person’s life that lasting change can be made. 

One of the largest challenges to EngenderHealth’s work at the intersections is that Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) issues often cut across multiple sectors, such as healthcare, education, and social welfare. The challenge lies in coordinating efforts and ensuring seamless integration of services across these sectors and within the health sector itself. Fragmentation can lead to gaps in service delivery and hinder comprehensive care. And yet, despite these challenges – working at intersections of SRHR/gender and other sectors is critical.  

A key to achieving our intersectional goals is our prioritization of partnerships across geographies and technical areas. While EngenderHealth is not trying to be an expert in everything, we do try to connect our work with our partners who are experts in a variety of areas, such as connecting our women’s health and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) work with our partners’ expertise in HIV, nutrition, and food fortification. We build those partnerships to ensure SRHR is included within every level of work being done within a community. 

We learn from the challenges, and we learn from the organizations and agencies we are collaborating with to ensure that people get the holistic, comprehensive care that they need and deserve.  

Learn more about our work at the intersections of health and development.