Community Health Education, Sanitation and Hygiene Education project was first set up in mind of the healthcare situation in Nepal and its many inadequacies. This is a great project for public health students (and for the ones who are interested for public health) for the internship. This particular project will be your way of making a significant impact on the Nepali rural communities as a whole and change the lives of hundreds of locals teaching good health & hygiene habits. You, as a volunteer / intern, with a basic background in health will be an extremely valuable asset to this project. Some of the activities involves you doing will be:
- Teach basic health & hygiene habits to school children & community people
- Consult with local community about their current health condition
- Work on improving basic sanitation habits with the local community
- Visit children’s clubs & public schools to raise awareness & give first aid tips.
Nepal as a developing country has a lot to do in the community development as the literacy of women is about 40 per cent only and the quality of education in the public school is extremely below the satisfactory level for various reasons. One of the major problems in communities in Nepal is the lack of awareness among the community members regarding the health, sanitation, environment and education. As majority of them are illiterate, they have not been able to adopt the safety measures in their day to day behavior.
Some of the communities do not have toilet facilities in their houses. They use open spaces nearby their houses and general cleanliness in the family is still far below the satisfactory level. These multiple problems have posed a big threat in the health of the people and the community environment in general. Thus, there is a great need to improve the quality of life of such communities.
The Community Education and Health Awareness Program is an integrated preventative health and life skills development intervention that aims to improve awareness and skills in relation to nutrition, personal hygiene and sanitation, addictions and mental health, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, Civic awareness etc. The aim of this program is to ensure that the communities are aware of the major health risks they face and make them able to know how to minimize these risks. VIN has been carrying out a non-formal interactive sessions addressing above mentioned key issues.
Local Volunteers of ERFnd along with International volunteers have initiated health quizzes and games, discussions and debates, art and drama, singing and sports competitions in schools through children’s club. These activities represent holistic educational experiences for school students, enabling them to develop their health understanding and life skills in fun and in practical ways. They mobilize Children’s Clubs to conduct non-formal sessions and interaction program on basic health with their out-of-school peers, so instigating a sustainable peer education approach that relays vital health information to the neediest young people in rural areas, while fostering civic sense among rural youth as a whole.
ERFnd also promotes health education through literacy classes, specifically for rural women, to enable them to be literate, develop their self-esteem, discuss about health and health related sensitive issues and ultimately increase their earning potential, because saving is earning, in a sense where they save money as they are aware of preventive measures of health risk. In this way, communities are increasingly connected to and included in wider development processes, which enhances their social capital and their livelihoods in the long-term. ERFnd also works for building supportive local attitudes towards those traditionally overlooked or marginalized including young people themselves, women, members of certain castes, and people living with HIV/AIDS, by raising awareness of rights and responsibilities, and by challenging stigma and discrimination. It is therefore fitting that ERFnd continues to take a broad, holistic view of health, adopting the WHO definition that specifies ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease.
During this intervention, ERFnd Interns directly intervene and / or mobilize Children’s Clubs and local youths to raise awareness about major health and education issues in rural schools and communities. Typical activities include rallies, street dramas and large-scale melas (festivals) that convey important messages to a large number of people in accessible and memorable ways. These events are often held on national and international awareness days such as World AIDS Day, World Population Day, World Education Day, and are commonly based in and around target schools, thereby raising the school’s profile in the community. Wherever possible, all activities and events are integrated with local services such as local health clinics, NGOs and government bodies. In this way, schools and communities are exposed to local support systems which they can continue to access in the future too.