|Project||Community and Health Education|
|Start Dates:||1st and 15th of each month|
|Language Requirements:||English (Basic Nepali is provided)|
|Food and Accommodation:||Nepali standard with host family in the working community, Jitpurphedi.|
|Key Activities:||raising awareness of relevant health issues; promoting preventative measures to address these issues; working in cooperation with local volunteers, community members, children’s clubs, etc.|
|Beneficiaries:||Disadvantaged community members, with an emphasis on women and children.|
|Working Hours:||4 to 5 hours a day, 6 days a week|
|Required Qualifications and Skills:||No formal training required, although health / medical knowledge is clearly a benefit. A desire to improve the well-being of marginalized community members is required!|
Community Health Overview
As a developing country, Nepal faces a multitude of serious problems on the community level, with the literacy rate of women around 40% and the quality of education in public schools being extremely poor for various reasons. One of the most serious problems faced by local communities in Nepal is the lack of awareness among the community members regarding the health and sanitation. As the majority of them are illiterate, they have not been able adopt modern hygiene standards in their daily practices. Some of the communities do not have toilet facilities in their houses and as such, they use open spaces nearby their houses for defecation. These problems obviously constitute a major threat to the health of the people in the community, as well as to the surrounding environment. Thus, there is a great need to improve the quality of life of such communities.
About the Program
The Community Education and Health Awareness Program is an integrated preventative health and life skills development intervention that seeks to improve awareness of and skills related to nutrition, personal hygiene and sanitation, addictions and mental health, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, civic awareness, etc.
The aim of the program is twofold: to ensure that marginalized communities are aware of the major health risks they face and to give them knowledge regarding how to minimize these risks.
As in all of its programs, VIN strives to build supportive local attitudes towards those who have been traditionally overlooked or marginalized including young people, women, members of certain castes, and people living with HIV/AIDS, by targeting them to raise awareness of rights and responsibilities, and by challenging stigma and discrimination. In keeping with this mission, VIN takes 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’.
Roles of Volunteers
- Awareness Raising Activities: local and international volunteers have initiated health quizzes and games, discussions and debates, arts and drama performances, singing and sports competitions in schools through children’s clubs. These activities represent holistic educational experiences for school students, enabling them to further their knowledge of health and life skills in fun and practical settings. They also mobilize the members Children’s Clubs to conduct informal sessions and interaction programs on basic health with their out-of-school peers, thereby 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.
- Conducting Literacy Classes, specifically for rural women, which enable them to be literate, advance their career opportunities, develop their self-esteem, allow for discussion regarding health and related issues, and ultimately increase their earning potential, as they will save money through awareness of preventive measures of health risks.
- Promoting Community-Wide Awareness: 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. and communities are increasingly connected to and included in wider development processes, thereby enhancing their social capital and their livelihoods in the long-term.