The ISEPICH Framework for Promoting Equity, Environmental Sustainability and Health

Developed by members of the Inner Southeast Partnership in Community and Health (ISEPICH)

November 2011 - February 2012


Taking a community development approach

  • Work with people in settings where they live, love, work and play. Start small – ‘street by street’ – and build out
  • Advocate to government and power-brokers

Respecting elders, seeking knowledge

  • Ensure that the wisdom of Aboriginal heritage and of diverse cultures is respected and given voice in programs 
  • Build on evidence from research and practice – look for and use evidence from what others have done

Addressing causes

  • Create the conditions for health and wellbeing by addressing the determinants:  social and economic factors that  affect health, equity and environmental sustainability
  • Health and community services can help people to cope with the impact of inequity or environmental change, but focus should not only be on responding after harm has happened

Making equity and sustainability everybody’s business

  • Include and engage disadvantaged and minority groups
  • Ensure that wealthy and powerful groups take  responsibility

Focusing efforts where they will have most effect

  • Early life
  • Outcomes for disadvantaged groups 
Ensuring good communication
  • Have targeted messages, be clear about what we are saying
  • Ensure the voice of disadvantaged groups is heard
  • Appeal to both emotion and reason (seek a balance)

Planning for clear outcomes

  • Identify what we are trying to achieve and develop measures to assess this (indicators, targets, benchmarks)
  • Measure and evaluate these regularly
  • Advocate for government and organisations to do this also

Action areas 

Starting points
  • Community gardens, food security, healthy eating and community meals programs that incorporate a focus on equity and environmental sustainability and help build community (especially in areas that don’t already have many of these activities) 
  • Housing sustainability and energy costs - helping to improve housing and reduce energy costs, particularly for low income groups (NB Also consider a focus on recycling and active transport)
  • Conversations with and advocacy to community and powerbrokers on what equity and environmental sustainability mean and why they are important to health and wellbeing. Develop plain language messages, relevant to people’s lives 

Community participation
  •  Support volunteers and community participation (including providing training, payment/reimbursement, recognition)
  • Develop skills, increase opportunities of program participants (including employment related skills and opportunities)
  • Develop, use and support community champions or mentors

Population groups and settings 
  • Work in relevant settings eg streets, neighbourhoods, housing estates, rooming houses (could also include schools and workplaces
  • Work with relevant groups eg Aboriginal, multicultural, women who have experienced violence, young  people

Bring people together

  • Share knowledge and wisdom, increase cultural understanding (eg of multicultural and Aboriginal groups who have traditional knowledge about living sustainably and sharing resources)
  • Bring generations together
  • Engage wealthy and powerful groups, call on them to take responsibility for promoting equity and sustainability (not just giving charity)


  • Support and seek funding for community infrastructure especially community hubs, and for improving housing sustainability

Incorporate a focus on equity and sustainability in all programs

  • Utilise available evidence and resources including the ‘ISEPICH Social Inclusion and Equity checklist’. Share information regularly. Consider developing a sustainability checklist (or adapting an existing one).  Utilise existing community indicators or develop and monitor new indicators with community members as needed.

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