“I have had a woman say to me, ‘This PHE [population-health-environment approach] makes sense to me because I do not live my life in silos. I live my life in a way that all these things are integrated, and what you are saying to me makes sense, because my life is one of integration,’” said the Sierra Club
’s Roger-Mark De Souza, in his lilting Trinidadian baritone.
De Souza, whom I interviewed recently about his contribution to ECSP’s Focus series, is a great storyteller. Whether recounting his conversations with a tsunami survivor in Thailand, a mayor of a small Filipino community, or a Tanzanian journalist, De Souza brings to life their daily struggles to meet basic needs. His tales are packed with lessons for development practitioners tackling multiple and overlapping challenges in poor rural communities.
“When I see communities have a better understanding of how these issues interact and have an impact on their lives, they become very energized, and very enthusiastic and want to make a difference,” De Souza told me.
His latest article, “The Integration Imperative: How to Improve Development Programs by Linking Population, Health, and Environment,” summarizes the advantages of integration. “PHE offers a step in the right direction—a flexible, innovative way for policies and programs to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing world—and lays the foundation for empowering our children to manage these changes for generations to come.”