Preliminary exam at Kallupatti camp outside of Madurai
In honor of World Sight Day October 12th, the Hilton Prize Coalition would like to shine a spotlight on the 2010 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize winner, Aravind Eye Care System (Aravind). Founded in 1976 by Dr. G. Venkataswamy, Aravind operates with a mission to eliminate preventable, treatable, and curable blindness and to spread its model high-quality, patient-centric sustainable eye care throughout the world. From an 11-bed hospital in Madurai, India, Aravind has grown to a network of 12 hospitals and 61 vision centers, a world class research center, and a manufacturing division with global market share. Aravind Eye Care System provides eye care services to more than four million people a year and performs some 463,000 eye surgeries a year.
Through its healthcare consulting group – Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology (LAICO) – Aravind’s work extends into other countries as well; LAICO has mentored more than 300 eye care facilities and trained at least 15,000 health care professionals across India, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Since winning the Prize in 2010, Aravind has continued to receive support from the Hilton Foundation for capacity development work with five hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa. LAICO provides support in the form of clinical and administrative training, provision of supplies and equipment, marketing and community outreach – all with the purpose of helping eye care facilities and hospitals attract patients, provide services efficiently, and deliver the highest quality care possible.
Schoolchildren being fitted for glasses
In 2000, the Aravind Eye Foundation was established in the United States to facilitate relationships with other non-profits, universities, social enterprises, technology companies, and individuals and to sponsor programs that fall outside Aravind’s sustainable model. One program, Spectacles for Scholars, provides free vision screening and eye glasses to school children, resulting in improved performance in school. Another AEF program is the Ring of Hope, which provides cost-free treatment for children diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a fast-growing, often fatal, eye cancer that strikes children under five years old. In the United States, retinoblastoma is 90% curable, but in India, 90% of children with the disease die because their families cannot afford treatment. The Aravind Eye Foundation has also built several Vision Centers to provide comprehensive eye care to rural populations. Each center is connected to an Aravind Eye Hospital, via the internet, where doctors can diagnose more complicated ailments.
By providing high-quality, sight-saving and quality of life-improving care to some of the world’s poorest people, Aravind Eye Care System empowers the communities where its programs, centers, and doctors operate, exemplifying Hilton Prize Coalition values of collaboration and mentorship to create a more sustainable and resilient society.
(Photos courtesy of Aravind Eye Care System)
All over the world, people living with mental illness can face issues such as inadequate healthcare, stigma against disability, and lack of education, which contribute to their disenfranchisement and vulnerability to inhumane treatment. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), people living with serious mental illness have a life expectancy that is 10-20 years shorter than average. They are not only ostracized by their communities, but are likely to be discriminated against for employment, education, civic engagement, and basic necessities such as food and shelter. Without access to employment and basic needs, certain populations of people with mental illness live in extreme cases of poverty and cannot access the appropriate resources for help.
At the forefront of the work to empower men, women and children living with mental illness are Clubhouse International and Fountain House. These organizations were jointly awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2014 for their dedication to providing opportunities and recovery services for men, women, and children living with mental illness. With more than 340 clubhouses in 320 countries, including the United States, Clubhouse International and Fountain House have helped over 100,000 people overcome the challenges of unemployment, abuse, and isolation.
Founded in 1948 in New York City, Fountain House was the first Clubhouse established. The organization now serves over 1,300 members through community mental health programs that are based on the “Clubhouse” working community model that it pioneered. This Clubhouse model is distinguished from other programs that serve people with mental illness by its core dependence on the voluntary participation of its members. Members play a critical role in the daily operations of the organization. The opportunity to live, work, and learn within a community and environment of mutual support empowers members to make progress towards achieving their employment and educational goals. As a template for Clubhouse organizations all over the world, Fountain House continues to be an example for organizations focusing on mental health in leadership development, education, advocacy, and research on the integration of people with mental illness into society.
Recently, Fountain House partnered with WHO to establish a series of guidelines and best practices to extend and improve the quality of life for people living with mental illness. Resources produced under this partnership include articles and reports, as well as upcoming events around the subject of excess mortality in persons living with serious mental illness. These guidelines will be implemented by governments and health care professionals around the world. Read more about this initiative here.
The growing number of Clubhouses around the world demonstrates that people with living mental illness have a meaningful place in society, and deserve the right to education, employment, and stability. Clubhouse International does not define their programming as treatment, but a partnership where people reclaim their futures in a supportive, recovery-based community. Clubhouse International believes in the possibility for a time where “there will one day be clubhouses in the cities and towns of every country in the world.” In order to obtain that vision, Clubhouse International developed a program model operating on standards proven to be effective in its implementation all over the world.
The Clubhouse model is grounded in a philosophy that has high expectations for its members with the understanding that community engagement is an important addition to psychiatric and medical treatment. Through local businesses, Clubhouse provides paid employment for its members, and offers educational and social programming that promotes members’ sense of self-worth, confidence, and purpose.
Clubhouse International/Fountain House and the Hilton Prize Coalition
Recently, Clubhouse International participated in a Monitoring & Evaluation capacity building survey led by PATH under the Hilton Prize Coalition’s Collaborative Models program, along with BRAC, Casa Alianza/Covenant House, HelpAge International, and Landesa. The purpose of the survey was to inform the Coalition’s monitoring and evaluation strategy, and to identify opportunities to leverage the member organizations’ capacity building initiatives.
In addition to Clubhouse International’s role in the Collaborative Models program, President Kenn Dudek of Fountain House was featured in the Coalition’s Leading Thoughts series under the its Storytelling Program. This series features leaders of Hilton Prize Laureate organizations sharing lessons learned from their experiences in global development and humanitarian aid. During his interview, Dudek describes how people with mental illness are treated as an illness rather than a person with an illness, and shares how the Clubhouse model pioneered by Fountain House is one that stresses empowerment and advocating for the agency of people often left unheard due to the inequalities and stigmas towards mental illness in current health institutions. Watch the video here.
6 organizations to watch among NGO Advisor’s top-ranked 500, featuring #HiltonPrize @BRACWorld and @Landesa_Global: http://bit.ly/2lzCB9e via @devex
@Landesa_Global: Honored to be counted among many @PrizeCoalition members in @ngoadvisor #Top500NGOs. http://bit.ly/2jMIj9I
With a presence in more than 170 countries, members of the Hilton Prize Coalition are uniquely positioned to innovate solutions across the globe, working together as well as independently to achieve greater collective impact. Here is a snapshot of achievements from the Coalition’s first year under its current organizational structure.
Compassion, #Collaboration and Smart Solutions: ideas from @hiltonfound #HiltonPrize orgs will shape #HumanitarianAction http://bit.ly/2iVTiMt
For almost 50 years, Landesa has worked to provide secure land rights to families in the developing world. To date, these reforms have helped “alleviate poverty, reduce hunger and ease conflict over land.” With a presence in over 50 countries, the organization seeks to advance and raise awareness around all facets of land rights, from food security to women’s economic empowerment to agricultural productivity. Landesa was awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2015 for “partnering with governments to help provide secure land rights to an estimated 115 million families since 1967.” Through research, partnerships and innovative programs around the world, the organization is a leader in the field of sustainable development.
Partnerships and Programs
Landesa partners with governments, local communities and other stakeholders to carry out its programs and advance legal and policy reforms. Government partnerships are crucial to implementing this work, as is a deep understanding of the respective country’s culture and history.
One such partnership in India with government agencies led to an estimated 500 people receiving legal aid from trained paralegals and their local government partners. Another collaboration between Landesa and Namati, a grassroots legal organization, resulted in a joint report from the organizations, highlighting the importance of pro-poor land policy in Myanmar, a prominently agrarian society. The report explores ways for farmers to advocate their land rights and delves into data and fieldwork in the country. By collaborating with various NGOs, government agencies and local communities in myriad capacities, Landesa demonstrates how partnerships are vital to advancing secure land rights for long-term sustainable development.
Landesa and the Hilton Prize Coalition
Landesa remains committed to the goals of the Hilton Prize Coalition, most recently through its involvement in the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program. In 2016, Gloria Jimwaga completed a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship at Landesa in Seattle, conducting desk research for the organization’s Center for Women’s Land Rights. She examined large-scale land-based investment in Tanzania and its implications for women’s land rights in the country. “The fellowship is a great way to learn how to incorporate gender relations within the issue of land rights,” says Gloria. Through presentations, networking opportunities and mentorship, Gloria gained a great deal of knowledge not only about Landesa and its work in Tanzania, but about the organization’s global footprint and extensive resources.
Read more about her experience here.
(Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow Gloria Jimwaga with Landesa Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Roy Prosterman)
Founded in 1972, Covenant House operates in the United States, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. Today, it describes itself as “the largest privately funded charity in the Americas providing care and vital services to over 50,000 homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth annually.”
Casa Alianza (Spanish for “Covenant House”) won the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2000. With this support, Covenant House opened Hilton Home in the center of Managua, Nicaragua, which each night can care for up to 110 boys and girls 12 – 17 years of age.
Covenant House maintains three core programs for homeless youth: Street Outreach, Crisis Care and Rights of Passage, its long-term transitional living program. Supporting these core programs is a wide range of services that include education, job training, counseling and legal advocacy. This holistic approach allows children to reclaim their lives and become active citizens, removed from violence and poverty. In addition to providing residential and support services for homeless kids, the charity advocates for homeless youth at the local, state, national and international levels of government. It holds consultative status with the United Nations and held a prominent role in The Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Last year, the organization released its collaborative 60X20 Strategic Plan to reach more than 60,000 homeless and trafficked youth a year by 2020. Read more about 60X20 and its strategic goals here.
In 2016, Covenant House became an active member of the Hilton Prize Coalition, an independent alliance of the 20 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. As an active member, the organization has committed to engage with the Coalition’s Signature Programs and Collective Impact Initiatives to foster collaboration in the international development and humanitarian sectors. “Covenant House/Casa Alianza is honored to be part of the Hilton Prize Coalition and to work together to make a collective impact in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” says Enny Rodriguez, Covenant House Ambassador to Latin America.
Covenant House’s comprehensive care on behalf of youth in the Americas captures the spirit of the Coalition. Its participation in the Coalition’s programs will not only raise awareness of issues related to at-risk youth, but will also empower communities and advance local, national and international partnerships.
Ms. Gloria Jimwaga is currently completing a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship through Landesa, a Seattle-based land rights NGO and Hilton Prize Laureate. Gloria is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Rural Development and Natural Resources Management from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and also holds a degree from the University of Dar es Salaam. In this blog post, Gloria writes about her experiences as a Spring 2016 Fellow in Seattle through Landesa’s Center for Women’s Land Rights.
Advocating for Women’s Land Rights in Tanzania
by Gloria Jimwaga
My passion for women’s land rights began in 2010 when I began working for HAKIARDHI, The Land Rights Research & Resources Institute, a non-governmental organization that advocates for secure land rights in Tanzania. During my training, I visited a village in Kilindi, Tanzania, home to a patriarchal society where men have greater decision-making power than women. I asked a woman about the land that both she and her husband had owned for years. She replied, “What land? My husband’s land!” I asked her how she would define her land rights, and she said, “It belongs to my husband; if I’m to be divorced I would leave with the bags which I came with.” This conversation made me aware of some of the injustices that women face. I worked at HAKIARDHI for the next four years, driven to support land rights for women and communities.
Tanzania’s land ownership system is among the most progressive within Africa. Legally, Tanzanian women have the same rights as men to hold property and land. The challenge, however, is what happens in practice. In rural areas in Tanzania, women’s land rights are often insecure. Despite women being the drivers of agricultural production in Tanzania, they tend to be alienated and separated from their ownership of land compared to men.
The problem becomes even more complex when dealing with women’s inheritance practices. For example, many women, especially in rural areas, depend on access to land through a man—a father, brother, uncle, or husband. This can become complicated if the man dies, and the issue of inheritance is raised.
(Women participate in land use plan process in Kidabaga, Iringa, Tanzania; photo credit HAKIARDHI)
Women are also too often left out of the household decision-making related to the income generated by their land. Although Tanzanian law protects a woman’s right to participate fully in household decisions, their rights are often circumvented by customary practices. As a woman myself, I would like to see to it that all women in my country have secure land rights that are protected within the legal system and implemented without gender discrimination.
The global food and oil crises have led to an increase of large-scale land investment in Africa. As agricultural investment continues to grow in Tanzania, my fear is that women’s land rights will continue to be swept under the rug, which will have devastating effects in the future.
(Bioshape farm left unattended by investor at Mavuji Villlage Kilwa District, Tanzania; photo credit HAKIARDHI)
As a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, I am working with Landesa through the Center for Women’s Land Rights. Landesa has a wealth of experience and knowledge on women’s land rights, and through my fellowship I am conducting research on large-scale land-based investment and its implications for women’s land rights in Tanzania. The research output will identify gender gaps as well as any successful models that exist for supporting women’s land rights, and will include recommendations and opportunities for future initiatives. The fellowship is a great way to learn how to incorporate gender relations within the issue of land rights.
There is an opportunity to further strengthen women’s land rights in Tanzania by addressing both legal and customary gaps. This can be done through legal reforms, research, community awareness building, strengthening of farmers’ associations and by improving the agricultural value chain so that women will be at an advantage. These interventions and strategies will support many women in the realization of their land rights by providing mechanisms to make these rights possible and retainable: Women will no longer state that their land “belongs to my husband only,” but instead will recognize and claim that land “belongs to both of us.”
Through its Disaster Resiliency and Response Program, the Hilton Prize Coalition works to implement innovative, collaborative models for building resiliency in communities before a disaster strikes and administering efficient, collaborative approaches to disaster response. The Coalition has developed a series of disaster protocols which facilitate information sharing amongst member organizations responding on the ground. With increased knowledge of each other’s activities, Coalition members are better able to work in concert with one another.
When a disaster strikes, the Coalition activates its disaster protocols: member organizations on the ground are immediately identified and communications are sent to assess the safety of staff and beneficiaries. Updates are then shared on Coalition social media channels and highlights of Coalition members’ immediate relief efforts are collected and shared on a dedicated page of the Coalition website. The response may also include convening of information-sharing calls and coordination of resource-sharing among Coalition members in the countries or regions affected to assist with recovery.
Activation following the Ecuador Earthquake
For example, the Coalition disaster protocols were activated on Saturday, April 16, 2016, when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the northwest coast of Ecuador. As of April 28, the death toll neared 600, with more than 16,000 injured. Communications were deployed among the four Coalition member organizations with active staff in Ecuador: Heifer International, International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), Operation Smile and SOS Children’s Villages. Two additional Hilton Prize Laureates, Handicap International and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, sent teams from neighboring countries to assist with immediate relief efforts.
For more information on the efforts of each organization, click on the links below.
Handicap International 2016 Ecuador Earthquake
Heifer International 2016 Ecuador Earthquake
MSF 2016 Ecuador Earthquake
Operation Smile 2016 Ecuador Earthquake
SOS Children’s Villages 2016 Ecuador Earthquake