Introducing Focus Areas
Vihara’s new directions necessarily build on its current and on-going areas of work, where we have been accumulating ever deeper experience and expertise as well as some ready solutions which can be deployed in different world regions. These areas of work represent not only our priorities, but also key challenges in Global Health.
Our current areas of focus are.
Gender and Health
The Gender & Health Vertical at Vihara is committed to understanding the complex interplay of gender, sociocultural, and environmental factors that shape health outcomes. We use social norms transformation, capacity building, financial and digital inclusion, and advancing livelihoods for women, to build healthy, resilient, and future-forward communities. Building over our past learnings, the vertical aim is to position itself within two broad areas of intervention. These are:
Gender Norms Transformation for Better Sexual and Reproductive Health: Tackling the inequitable gendered socio-cultural and behavioural norms that inhibit a women’s bodily agency. Through design-led outcomes focused interventions, the aim is to better equip vulnerable stakeholders to make informed decisions and achieve positive health outcomes. The central focus for these interventions would be adolescents and young men and women.
Women's Economic Empowerment: Capacity building and enhancing autonomous decision-making power of women by forging their leadership, negotiation and life skills. Strengthening women’s self-efficacy would be foundational to safeguard their equal participation in all spheres of life. We aim to do this by utilising women's collectives to empower women through greater financial access and bridging the digital gender divide.
Our approach is adaptive, iterative and future-focused, recognising that the challenges we face in health and well-being are ever-evolving. Through a combination of research, program development, designing toolkits and community engagement, we strive to make meaningful and lasting contributions to gender and health in the communities we serve.
Megha Mukherji : Focus Area Lead
Kishan Kumar : Focus Area Member
TB remains one of those tough diseases where the human behavioural, familial and psychosocial issues are significant and have an impact on health outcomes, but remain largely unaddressed at scale.
Vihara's TB vertical is keen to bring new perspectives and approachs to supplement and improve TB programs across the country. The vertical and its vision are attuned to the shifts in the TB ecosystem brought about by the COVID pandemic. Vihara has identified specific areas where our decades of experience and expertise can significantly contribute to existing programs and inform the design of new initiatives.
We are looking to partner with future forward TB service providers and programs to integrate patient centric approaches, pychosocially grounded interventions and outcome oriented program design.
Madhu Priyanka Kannabiran : Focus Area Lead
Kishan Kumar : Focus Area Manager
Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted mental health issues at scale but it is only in the past decade that Global Health increasingly started to recognise the long-standing correlation between mental wellbeing and uptake of healthful behaviours, economic productivity, crisis management capacities at both individual & community levels. In such a scenario, the need of the hour is to account for the differential impact the crisis has had on populations to create focused solutions that are both contextually sensitive and sustainably scalable.
Vihara is motivated to work in the field of mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of disadvantaged individuals and vulnerable communities by foregrounding the impact of structural, environmental and socioeconomic factors on mental health needs across different life stages. Focus on psychosocial health would account for both internalisation of distress and external factors contributing to it.The team will engage with challenges & needs that broadly fall under two categories:
(i) Day to day distress, anxiety and stress due to a particular life stage/situational changes
(ii) Trauma, loss, grief and severe mental disorders induced due to a shock, requiring clinical intervention.
Radhika Kannan : Focus Area Lead
Kishan Kumar : Focus Area Member