In the heart of Borneo, amid the beautiful landscapes and rainforests, Pranav Savanur, a representative from the Preventing Pandemics at the Source (PPATS) initiative in collaboration with Dalberg Catalyst, embarked on a journey to discover the pioneering efforts of the Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) Foundation. ASRI, a planetary health organization dedicated to addressing climate change, has become a beacon of hope for sustainable development and environmental conservation in Indonesia. During his visit, Pranav had the privilege of witnessing ASRI's unique model, which focuses on healthcare, conservation, and livelihood to combat climate change and promote planetary health.
A Glimpse into ASRI's Innovative Model
Pranav's itinerary included visits to various ASRI initiatives that embody their holistic approach to planetary health. His journey began with a trip to the ASRI reforestation project in Laman Satong where he witnessed firsthand the incredible efforts to restore and protect Borneo's vital forests. The commitment to reforestation as a climate mitigation strategy was evident in the dedication of ASRI's forest guardians.
One of the highlights of Pranav's visit was the Goats for Widows project, a livelihood program aimed to empower widows by teaching them how to raise goats. This initiative not only offers economic opportunities but also contributes to sustainable agriculture practices and fosters a sense of community support.
Pranav also had the opportunity to meet former loggers who have settled into alternative, sustainable livelihoods with the support from ASRI's Chainsaw Buyback Program. This program demonstrates ASRI's commitment to providing financial assistance and training to those who were involved in logging industry, giving them a new start to devolve into eco-friendly businesses.
Amidst his discovery of ASRI's impactful programs, Pranav also had the privilege of visiting the breathtaking Gunung Palung National Park. The beautyleft an indelible impression on him, reinforcing the urgency of protecting these vital ecosystems.
Reflections to Spillover Prevention and Hopes for ASRI
After his eye-opening visit, Pranav shared his thoughts on ASRI's work: "It was great to witness planetary health in action at ASRI. Forest guardians are the true heroes of the world, and I am so incredibly impressed to see how ASRI has invested in capacity building within local communities, promoted entrepreneurship, sustainable agriculture, and uptake of healthcare services in exchange for protecting the rainforest. Planetary health is not just a concept on paper anymore; it's local, practical, and scalable."
In relation to pandemic prevention, ASRI’s model might be a way to reduce the risk. Pranav said, “ASRI has deep expertise working with local communities and different ministries; allowing ASRI to uniquely position itself as a multisectoral leader in implementing a One Health approach for pandemic prevention. ASRI’s nature-based solution in Orangutan Corridor in Sedahan Jaya is one of the most tangible evidence of how Indonesia can lead in addressing the drivers of zoonotic spillovers.”
Pranav also expressed his hope for ASRI's future: "My hope for ASRI is to scale up their very successful model from Kalimantan to other regions of Indonesia with the help of the government, and I hope donor institutions see the true potential in breaking barriers in philanthropy to make a sustainable impact for a healthy planet and healthy people."
ASRI's innovative approach to addressing climate change, reinforced with their commitment to community well-being and environmental conservation, shows how organizations can work towards achieving planetary health. As for the One Health approach, the healthcare services ASRI has been providing for the local communities surrounding the national park as a wildlife habitat also depicts how Community-Based Surveillance can be introduced and implemented. With the support of partners like PPATS, ASRI is poised to expand its reach and continue making a meaningful impact on Indonesia's environmental and human health landscape.
Get to Know Pranav
Pranav currently serves as the Advocacy lead for the Preventing Pandemics at the Source (PPATS) initiative, where he played a key role in mobilizing efforts to stop zoonotic spillovers and prevent the next pandemic. He is also the 2023 U.S. Youth Delegate for Health to the ASEAN Symposium. Prior to that, he co-founded Right to Health Action (R2HA), a prominent policy think tank and one of the largest COVID-19 social movements in the United States. In his role as a Senior Fellow and Policy Co-Chair at R2HA, Pranav actively shaped global policies and interventions to combat climate change-driven pandemics and enhance global health security.
He graduated from the Yale School of Public Health, where he earned his Master's in Public Health. During his time at Yale, Pranav was a John Kerry Fellow, Solomon Health Policy and Law Fellow, and a Leadership in Global Health Fellow.