In 1993, Kinari Webb traveled to Borneo to pursue her dream of studying orangutans. There, she experienced the splendor of the rain forest. But she also saw that orangutans were losing their habitat at an alarming rate.
To protect the orangutans, she would need to listen to and work with the people who steward their habitat.
Kinari met many villagers who lived near the rain forest. In general, they lived in poverty and lacked adequate health care. What care they had was expensive, far away, and low quality. And she learned that these individuals often had no choice but to cut down trees to pay for treatment.
Kinari realized that their lack of access to care was driving deforestation.
Kinari went on to become a doctor. During her years of training, she decided to move to Indonesia full-time. She was determined to help people in rural Borneo get better health care, and also to conserve habitat and wildlife in the rain forest.
After founding Health In Harmony in 2005, Kinari returned to West Kalimantan in 2007.
Kinari searched to find a place with 1) a significant human health need, 2) viable forest under threat, and 3) an engaged local government. After traveling extensively around the region, she chose Sukadana. The city not only met these criteria, it was adjacent to Gunung Palung National Park (GPNP), an important habitat for orangutans.
Kinari, Dr. Hotlin Ompusunggu, and Toni Gorog established Health In Harmony’s pilot program, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), with conservation guidance and leadership from rainforest expert Dr. Cam Webb. Together they facilitated more than 400 hours of radical listening with the communities around GPNP. Guided by community needs, ASRI established medical and conservation programs that work in harmony with each other.
Today, Health In Harmony continues to support the program work, data collection, and research of its partner, ASRI.
Meanwhile, our goal is to establish new partnerships around the world. By listening to community needs, we can protect additional high-value ecosystems. We are also gathering evidence to prove the effectiveness of our unique model. As we grow, we are looking for new sites and hope to establish new programs that address both human and eco-system health. Health In Harmony has a small staff based in Portland, Oregon.