Ready and Able: Local Organizations Hone Skills to Support Government Health Goals

LHSS grants help nontraditional partners play a larger role in strengthening Peru’s health system

LHSS Project
4 min readJan 10, 2024
Disease prevention and healthy living campaigns were tailored for members of the indigenous Aymara community in Peru. (Photo: Ricardo Chuquimia Vidal)

For over a decade, the Lima-based organization known as CONACCIÓN has been conducting formative research and carrying out health and nutrition programs in remote and underserved communities in Peru.

Through a grant by the USAID Health System Sustainability Project (LHSS), CONACCIÓN developed its capacity to design and implement health communications campaigns in two of Peru’s indigenous communities: the Aymara in the Andean region of Puno, and the Harakmbut in the Amazon region of Madre de Dios.

After an initial LHSS grant that supported COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, CONACCIÓN applied its newly won experience in health communications through a second LHSS grant, dedicated to launching campaigns to prevent transmission of the Monkeypox virus. CONACCIÓN has subsequently expanded its health communications work further with new initiatives such as teaching health care professionals how to tailor health care messaging and communicate effectively with the diverse communities they serve.

“Until now we haven’t had the ability to translate our research findings into effective communication campaigns to help the communities we support,” said Doris Alfaro Vives, CONACCIÓN’s founder and program director.

Going forward, the organization will be able to apply its new skills in disease prevention and healthy living communications to address future disease threats and to support Peru’s larger health security goals.

“Every phase of our work, from design to implementation, is done in close collaboration with regional health directorates so that our efforts are seen as helping the government achieve its own goals, instead of being a parallel activity,” reflected Ms. Alfaro Vives.

Worldwide, LHSS has awarded $10.8 million in grants to 78 grantees in 15 countries. Among the recipient organizations, nearly 50 percent are new to USAID. The program aims to reduce barriers to entry and to support new partners in taking on incrementally larger roles in health system strengthening efforts in areas such as health workforce development, governance, resource optimization, and health information systems.

The project works closely with grantees so they can support local organizations and governments in addressing local priorities, positioning them to serve as partners in achieving government health goals. In many cases, the program also helps local organizations to develop their administrative and financial management capabilities to increase their readiness to potentially receive direct assistance from USAID and other donor sources.

LHSS grants in Peru and other countries focus on strengthening different aspects of the health system. For example, CONACCIÓN grew its expertise in carrying out evidence-based health promotion campaigns, while another grantee known as Promsex, a feminist NGO, gained experience in reducing barriers to health access for Venezuelan migrants and Peruvian nationals living with HIV.

Through partnerships with eight community-based organizations in Lima and the coastal cities of Trujillo and Piura, Promsex helped frontline health workers understand the stigma and barriers LGBTQ migrants and nationals often face when seeking health care. Equipped with stronger interpersonal communication skills, health providers are helping LGBTQ clients feel more welcome, reducing discrimination associated with sexual diversity, and linking them with HIV and mental health services.

A third grantee, Cayetano Heredia University, established Peru’s first Observatory of Migration and Health as hub for data, research, and communications. Used by advocates and decision-makers promoting the right to health among the country’s 1.5 million Venezuelan migrants, the Observatory has become a trusted source of previously inaccessible migrant health information.

The Observatory has helped to strengthen ties with organizations working in migration health including the Ministry of Health, civil society organizations, international bodies such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, and other migration observatories in the region.

Recognizing its potential, the University expanded the scope of the Observatory this year to include an interactive portal and social media campaign called #TodxsSomosMigrantes, where migrants and refugees can independently receive information on where and how to access health care services.

Each LHSS grant aims to enhance sustainability by broadening the ability of local organizations to support consequential health system change, seed relationships with key actors, and emerge as skilled partners in achieving national health priorities.

“The grants have given us the opportunity to address administrative and management gaps so that we can be a stronger organization,” Alfaro Vives continued. “We have gained new ways of thinking about how to help the communities we serve. We have also learned how to apply our new skills to other areas of our work, and how to share this new knowledge with others.”



LHSS Project

USAID’s Local Health System Sustainability Project helps countries achieve sustainable, self-financed health systems that offer quality health care for all.