Summary This article describes how partnerships with women’s groups can offer a way of improving health in the ‘community’. It draws on theexperience of the Women’s Empowerment Support Team (WEST) in Eastern Nepal, in a context of limited resources for health provision. Through the use of an empowering approach called the health analysis and action cycle, WEST enables women to analyse their local environment, identify their problems and identify solutions to improve their health situation. This leads to planning and implementation of activities and small projects that encourage improvements in health and social capital. The partnerships have led to a latrine?building programme, women’s literacy circles and group members carrying out health education in their communities. A dissemination workshop held in November 1998 motivated the local district development committee to consider how to scale?up the use of adaptations of the health analysis cycle approach.