As a summer intern for Roots of Health, I was given the incredible privilege of working closely with this organization's staff and it's communities - and I can't begin to express how transformative of an experience this was!
In many small communities in Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan, where rates of maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy are some of the highest in the country, access to information and care regarding sexual and reproductive health is exceptionally limited. Roots of Health explores unique and novel ways to expand their delivery channels to get young people interested in and talking about topics pertinent to their lives, all the while serving as a fierce and energetic advocacy organization for issues of sexual and reproductive health in the Philippines.
They engage a broad range of local people to actively participate in their community health advocacy and outreach programs, forging a collaborative connection with their neighboring communities. This is crucial in a country where myths and mysteries surrounding reproductive health can be real obstacles to people accessing services, and I was proud to be given the opportunity to support their innovative efforts.
Having returned to the United States now, I look back with the fondest of memories at my experience with Roots of Health and I look forward to maintaining a relationship with this great non-profit in the future.
Roots of Health is a truly exceptional organization. Their team's integrity, insight and skill are matched by their nimble and innovative approach to health education and community empowerment. After 20+ years of working in community development and non-profit management, I count Roots of Health as one of the most effective, high-impact and authentically inspiring organizations/work environments I've ever seen. If I could give a sixth star, I would!
Roots of Health (ROH) is a model of the efficacy and energy of grassroots community empowerment and education! In a highly religious area, ROH leverages local knowledge and understanding, clinical skills, scientific fact, and passion to better reproductive health and general wellbeing. Their programming is hands on, direct, and engaging.
I've been impressed over and over again during my time at ROH, by the staff, by the effectiveness of the programming, and by the enthusiastic receptiveness of the clients! I've been welcomed with open arms and will be forever grateful for how personal this experience has been. This is an incredible organization.
As the newest addition to the Board of Directors, I have felt a sense of empowerment and drive to share my resources and experiences for the organization. This is not your typical public health 501c3- the community health workers, clinical staff, interns, and volunteers are developing, implementing, and driving positive change in Palawan. Their open arms and receptiveness to the community members and visitors are well known and I encourage all those who visit the Philippines to be sure to include a visit to Roots of Health to see the actual on-the-ground impact they are creating and sustaining. I convinced my best friend to stay a month to volunteer with ROH and it completely changed her life. Whether it be a month or a day- they will always greet you with open arms! I am proud to be part of this epic movement with these change-agent leaders specializing in public health, community engagement, and women empowerment.
I am a founding Board Member of Roots of Health and am consistently impressed with how each year programming, evaluation, and organizational management improves. Honored to be a part of this group.
Roots of Health is an incredible grassroots organization that truly seeks to improve communities in need by providing crucial health education and services to women and children in the Philippines. I have been honored to have volunteered for ROH for the past 5 years and, as of this year, serve on its board of directors. The growth ROH has undergone during that short time has been astounding - it has gone from focusing on only a few small communities in Palawan to now extending its services, at the behest and avid encouragement of local health officials, beyond to other communities. While its impact has been profound in such communities, it is clear from the stories of ROH clients and continued growth of teen pregnancy and maternal mortality in the Philippines that ROH's work is far from done. Being one of only a few organizations that provide such resources and services in the Philippines, it is important that we continue to support ROH in every way possible.
In 2010 I went to visit Roots of Health in Palawan. I met a 17 year old with a new baby. She had that youthful eagerness and joy that new mothers can never hide. She was ready to take on the world, finish her last year of school and make every sacrifice she could for her child. Her attitude was beautiful, but Palawan is one of those places where breathtaking beauty and heartbreaking poverty exists side-by-side. Her hope and determination were in stark contrast to her surroundings, living in a squatter community on top of a garbage dump and with no steady income. But working with women like this is what Roots of Health does best. They directly provided education, guidance and health services, but more than that they helped her define her goals in life and make a practical plan to achieve those goals. With all their compassion and expertise they worked to build a scaffold of support around her. And she is succeeding, and so is her child. The beauty of her determination is winning out over the logic of her circumstances. I joined Roots of Health as a board member because I always want to be on the side of women like this 17 year old girl. I want her and her ferocious hope to win. Period. Roots of Health’s staff and leadership doesn’t just share that desire, they live it, embody it and work every day to achieve it. They are an incredible NGO.
Because the Philippines is generally a religious Catholic country, the topics of reproductive and sexual health are often viewed as taboo and therefore addressed poorly, or not at all. Roots of Health aims to fill this gap in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Through different programs that include clinical services, education teams, and even a radio show, Roots of Health addresses upstream structural issues that affect reproductive health in order to make meaningful and long term impacts in the communities, as well as motivates people in the community to lead and continue lasting change. As a summer intern, I mostly completed administrative and office tasks, but I also I had the chance to go out into the communities with a few of the teams to see program implementation in action. I saw for myself the necessity of the work that Roots of Health does, and I was never ceased to be amazed by the staff, whom all have an amazing rapport with the women, children, and students--both knowledge and laughter were exchanged during the sessions. Both staff and administration were incredibly kind and everyone was very comfortable with each other, so I felt very welcomed and lucky to be able to work with such a great group. Roots of Health is doing incredible, incredible work, and I hope to return to Puerto Princesa one day!
In a region where reproductive health is not prioritized although very much needed, Roots of Health is a trailblazing organization. Beyond the clinical services they provide to rural communities in Palawan from administering and monitoring contraceptive use to post-natal care for mothers who need care during and after their pregnancy, Roots of Health addresses the holistic health needs of girls and women that educate and empower them. In addition, they provide culturally relevant and comprehensive sexuality and gender education in school communities where 25% of girls experience a teenage pregnancy. They are constantly fighting for reproductive rights while enabling their community members to exercise them. As a Filipina-American and health educator, I am so proud to be a part of this organization.
I have been a Board Member of Roots of Health since its inception in 2009. During that time I've witnessed its development from a loosely constructed group with an idealistic dream to a much larger, effectively structured and productive organization. Roots of Health's major goal is the health and well-being of women and families of Palawan, Philippines. Its efforts to increase the empowerment and knowledge of women is critical to the achievement of this goal. Utilizing both educational and clinical interventions, Roots of Health works with cultural sensitivity, creativity, and compassionate energy. Its focus on such areas as reproductive health, safe deliveries, financial literacy, and sustainability make it a dynamic non-profit with growing visibility. Roots of Health is an important presence on Palawan and merits enthusiastic support.
I volunteered at Roots of Health/Ugat ng Kalusugan and had the opportunity to witness the organisation's community centred approach in the provision of reproductive health services in underserved communities in Palawan, Philippines.
It was such a pleasure to work with Ugat ng Kalusugan and see the inspiring and life changing work they undertake everyday in communities experiencing poverty and marginalisation. Being the only reproductive health NGO in Palawan, means Roots of Health is the sole provider of vital services and education to women and young girls - something I was so pleased to take part in.
“What I can say to ROH staff and those who teach FinLit (Financial Literacy) is: I am so happy to learn from you! You all are nice and diligent. I hope you keep up this program, and continue helping more and more people!”
For me, Roots of Health's Financial Literacy Program is such an enjoyable class! The class lessens our worries. I am happy to have learned budgeting here. I hope classes continue until next time.
What I can say to Ugat ng Kalusugan having the Financial Literacy Program is, we've learned a lot of good things shared by its staff. Even if I have to close my retail store for a couple of hours, it’s still worthwhile to have attended each and every session for additional knowledge especially on interest rates.
I have lived in Palawan for ten years, and I’ve seen a real transformation since Roots of Health began working here five years ago. Before, women and youth had little access to contraception or information on family planning and reproductive health. In the absence of government-run sexual education programs, many have many more babies than they manage, both physically and financially. Now, in the schools and communities where Roots of Health works, they have given people knowledge and empowerment to plan their lives and keep their children, and themselves, healthier than ever before. This work is incredibly important!
I believe in the importance of the work that Roots of Health does, which is why my husband and I decided to make a donation. We went to Palawan and saw first hand the difference that they are doing, and commend their untiring efforts and unstinting devotion in continuing to uplift the lives of poor women, and would urge everyone to support them in any way possible.
Roots of Health is an amazing organization that transforms the lives of young men and women in Puerto Princessa in the Philippines. This nonprofit focuses on significantly improving the quality of life of young men and women who deserve proper healthcare, a great education, and love and support from people who are selfless and only want to make positive change in the world. I'm so proud to be affiliated with such a team that I know is determined to make a monumental impact on this community.
Roots of Health is a great organization because they have a very specific mission but are willing to use a variety of methods in order to accomplish it. They promote health and wellness in rural Palawan through school programs, workshops, assistance with family planning, farming, nutrition, and a variety of other needed services. They are a worthy recipient of my donations and my praise.
I was blessed with an opportunity to intern for Roots of Health for 10-weeks this past summer (May 2014-July 2014). Roots of Health is an organization that has dedicated itself to an important mission in the communities of Puerto Princesa: Reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies and the incidence of maternal mortality and empowering women/girls to make informed decisions about their health and their bodies. The leadership team at Roots of Health is compassionate, sensible, and determined to make a difference, and their determination shows. In the six communities in which Roots of Health works, their clients receive both clinical services as well as education. In addition, Roots of Health strives to ensure the sustainability of its work by teaching and empowering local women within the communities to become Community Health Advocates. Everyday I was there, I was continually struck by the importance of this organization and the wonderful work it is doing within the communities. Although I am now back in the US, I think often of my time at Roots of Health and fully intend to return someday!
Roots of Health is a unique organization because it not only provides direct access to reproductive healthcare for high need communities in Puerto Princesa but also addresses the systemic issues that make them a community of high need. Their educational efforts reach both adolescents and mothers in the classroom and in their neighborhoods to empower them with the tools necessary to embrace their sexuality, take responsibility of their reproductive health, become self-sufficient, and empower those around them.