Spotlight on Health Education

Calla McCabe

At CEI, we have profiled several education programs imparting critical skills including literacy, numeracy and life skills for future employment.  However, there is a select set of education innovations also working to promote health education in the developing world. As we know, health and education outcomes are often interdependent. Therefore, promoting health education can have positive effects within classrooms as well as outside them.  This past week was Health Education week, with the theme "Celebrating the next generation of health educators". These five featured programs work on providing both traditional education but also health education for their students, so they can achieve happier, healthier lives.

Mentor Mothers- Poverty, the limited capacity of health workers, and the HIV/AIDS crisis meant that basic child health and nutrition services were not effective.  In response, Philani developed interventions to prevent malnutrition, rehabilitate underweight children, and promote good health. The Mentor Mothers program promotes social change in basic child health and early childhood development. The program adopts 'Positive Deviant Theory' to equip local mothers with additional knowledge and skills to mentor other mothers in disadvantaged communities. Learn more here...

VICDA School Projects- VICDA identify underprivileged communities in need of support in the areas of health/nutrition, education, and sanitation among other projects. Through their education projects, VICDA build schools for children in needy communities which are then staffed by government teachers. Construction includes ECD centers, primary and secondary schools. In addition to other initiatives on health and nutrition, VICDA builds schools around Kenya for communities that have been displaced and require education support. Since 2009, they have built nine schools in three counties in Kenya. The nine comprise of one secondary, three primary and five ECD schools.  Read more here...

Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) offers informal education, health, and nutrition support to child laborers and the children of laborers thereby facilitating their reintegration to the mainstream education system. The program seeks to increase these children's interest in and ability to pursue education, and break the cycle of child labor. Child labor is a major socioeconomic problem in India. India faces a significant challenge in providing education, nutrition, and healthcare to the many children of laborers and child laborers. The challenges are created by both the lifestyle of these children and the prevailing system of education are of serious nature must be addressed in order to meet the needs of these children.  Learn more here...

Uganda School Health and Reading Program (SHRP)- SHRP offers support to the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sport by implementing early grade reading in mother tongue languages for grades 1-3 with transition to English after grade 3, and enhancing health education focused on HIV /AIDS prevention.  SHRP works at both the national and district level to create sustainable systems for HIV/AIDS prevention through the education sector. SHRP builds upon Uganda’s nationwide, school-based HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum and aims to strengthen implementation by working with MOES, district officers, and teachers.  Teacher training and pupil assessment serve as key elements of both the literacy and health components of the program.  Read more here...

Hand in Hand- The Hand in Hand Plan, pictured above, is the largest privately funded ECCD (Early Childhood Care and Development) program in China. It builds child-friendly kindergartens and ECCD centers in 24 impoverished counties. Additionally, it trains teachers, parents, and healthcare workers to spread ECCD knowledge and best practices.  To ensure the healthy growth of children aged 0-3, parents and healthcare workers are educated about infant care and child nutrition through a Training of Trainers model. In each county, 6 healthcare workers and 6 parents are selected to receive training in Shanghai or Beijing. With an expert’s help in the development of a training plan, these participants then become master trainers responsible for spreading ECCD knowledge and best practices back within their own community. Learn more here...

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