AHC uses a community development model that implies an Ecological Participatory Action Research (EPAR) approach. The EPAR approach is collaborative in nature, community based, and grounded in community contexts. It is used to promote development and research.
EPAR helps to combine the personal motivation and perspectives of staff with organizational values and strategies that help use and create appropriate knowledge, techniques, and methods to work collaboratively with people in the process of enhancing community life in their environments. EPAR is both a tool and a product; it is used to implement a specific development/research project while it takes specific characteristics from the context where it is used. In AHC, EPAR means:
This element of the approach is the "engine" of the community development process, what make it to start and move, considering all environments in which people live, their positive and negative impacts, not only on people but also on programs development and sustainability. It enhances abilities to reach ecologically sound decisions, helping to find strategies to create and sustain healthy and balanced relationships between program participants and their environments.
This element is the "gas" that moves the process. Program participants take ownership of the process and find opportunities for increasing capacities and collective action. People with different and often opposing worldviews come to work together, dealing with complexity and individualism and acting with creativity and critical in the decision making process.
This element is the "gear" that leads the process. A variety of activities lead the process to expected and unexpected outcomes. It involves negotiation, linkage, and mediation among parties among people, facilitating interchange of knowledge, experience, and resources, while emphasizing the need to understand interactions within specific socio-cultural contexts.
It is the "odometer" of the process, registering findings, issues, solutions, and trends as well as knew knowledge created/developed/generated and relation between people - to - people and people and their environments modified or changed. It is a community-based research whose results bring elements for sustainability as it is not only about documenting actions developed but also about documenting human relationships modified or changed: relationships among humans or between humans and their environments.
All elements function holistically in applying an Action for Healthy Community model that uses formal, informal and experiential learning techniques and theory to increase community capacities for people to create healthy individuals and families in healthy environments.