Based out of the University of Alberta, the Students Invested in Health Association (SIHA) is a promotion and community development organization situated in the non-governmental-sector in the field of public health. We are student run, non-profit, and a registered charity. We work locally – in Edmonton and surrounding Alberta – and internationally, in rural Tanzania, East Africa. SIHA was established as a student run non-profit organization out of the University of Alberta in 1989. Since its inception, SIHA’s projects have been based on the “Health for All,” slogan promoted by the 1978 International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma Ata.
Originally a forum for discussion and action on global health, we embarked on our first international project in 1992, sending a multidisciplinary team of students to Guyana. In 1994, we expanded our international efforts to include Tanzania. In 2002, our International team shifted its focus to Tanzania and currently concentrates its efforts on working alongside community members and organizations in Kibaha District, located west of Dar es Salaam in the Coast Region of Tanzania. For 26 years SIHA has provided an exceptional opportunity to post-secondary students to gain both a theoretical grounding and a substantive field experience in global and community health, project development, community education, NGO management, and governance. Our values are based on the ideals of universal healthcare, including the principles of sustainable, community-based programming, and the interdisciplinary nature of primary health. We create and implement projects through community directed collaboration, sustainable programming involving local ownership and partnership, and multi-sectoral action. By extension, we focus on engaging in meaningful partnerships, fostering reciprocal education and co-learning about the social, economic and political components of primary health care, and fostering skills that are essential to health care organization and community building. Through developing relationships with individuals and organizations committed to social change, engaging in co-learning with health education, and promoting local capacity, SIHA supports grassroots change and the sustainable reduction of the social and economic hardships presented by major health threats in low resource settings.