In the early years with insufficient staff, facilities and funding, progress was slow, and we were not sure that sustainable improvements could be made. However, as we worked, we developed these PRINCIPLES THAT CONTINUE TO GUIDE THE WORK:
- We offer help; we never coerce.
- We offer educational, medical and organizational services without cost.
- We help the people to help themselves; we don't do it for them.
- We work directly with the people (especially the women and children), teaching personally and by example, not by lecture.
- We address all of the problems of a community, not just selected needs.
- We encourage community participation to identify family and community problems.
- We work with individuals, families and communities to develop and promote culturally acceptable solutions to family and community problems.
- Solutions to all problems must be relatively simple and easy, as most of the people already exist at the limits of their physical, emotional and financial abilities.
- Solutions to all problems must be sustainable within the culture of a developing country in a tropical rain forest.
- We believe that solutions to problems become sustainable when people have learned how to help themselves, as this builds self-confidence, self-esteem, and hope for the future.
- In as much as possible in our work, we involve the regional government infrastructure and the Peruvian people, as peer educators and as medical and scientific professionals.
- We help community authorities to communicate with each other and with their regional government for the betterment of the community.
- We encourage responsible use of alternative medicine (local medicinal botanicals) and alternative medical practices (moist heat, massage, rest, nutrition, behavioral modification, relaxation techniques, and such).
- We adhere strictly to the laws of Peru, to the regulations of the Peruvian Ministry of Health, and to our even stricter rules of conduct (such as more stringent use of antibiotics).
- To promote enlightened self-help through better education and medical care for individuals and families and through better organization at the community level;
- To encourage the fusion of old ways that still function with new ways that are acceptable to the culture and beliefs of the community;
- To teach individuals and families in the community better practices in sanitation, first aid, nutrition, sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry;
- To initiate home-based businesses to supplement income from subsistence fishing and farming, as an economic alternatives to commercial harvesting of rain forest trees;
- To promote conservation of surrounding rain forests, rivers, and bio-diversity through wise management of community-protected, extractive reserves;
- To provide education on the advantages of family planning and to offer Depo-Provera as a simple, secure, long-term, easily reversible, culturally acceptable method of family planning;
- To involve the community and Peruvian professionals in the development, execution, and continuance of these medical, educational, and organizational goals.
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