C3 brings together different communities to create health changes that make it easier to stop using tobacco, improve diet and do more physical activity
C3 Collaborating for Health (C3) is a small, global charity that counters the chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic by focusing on the three big risk factors: tobacco, poor diet and lack of physical activity. Each year, 71% of deaths globally are from just four major non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cardiovascular disease; cancers; type 2 diabetes and chronic lung disease. Despite this, NCDs are under-reported, under-acknowledged and under-funded.
C3’s vision is for a world where there are no premature or preventable deaths from chronic disease because people find it easier to live healthy lives. The key to achieving good health resides in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities. C3’s work with communities has demonstrated that engaging community members – who are experts in their own health needs – is the best way to break down the barriers to living a healthy life and generate sustainable change. The World Health Organization agrees. Its Global Action Plan on NCDs 2013-2020 stresses that ‘empowerment of people and communities’ is essential in addressing the chronic disease epidemic.
Too often, the focus is on convincing individuals to simply change unhealthy behaviours. This approach fails to recognise the immense influence that the environment has on people’s daily choices and ability to easily choose the healthier option. This is particularly true for disadvantaged communities, where healthy food options and opportunities for physical activity may be inaccessible or non-existent.
C3’s community-engagement programme partners with local communities to identify barriers to good health and use a community’s existing strengths to overcome these barriers. The aim is to make the healthy option the easy option for all. Health interventions are often imposed on communities. Evidence shows that actively engaging communities in evaluating the challenges and opportunities they face in their day-to-day lives leads to more effective, longer-lasting solutions.