Providing Women with the opportunity to express themselves
How? Every week women get together and with participatory activities, they share their views, using visual aids as prompts. In their normal lives women are not often consulted and so they become shy and in their own culture they may be used to deferring to men especially in public. Community Health Clubs teach them to have confidence to speak out. They learn the issues around health and hygiene and can provide any one with information about the symptoms prevention and cure of all common diseases. They feel like an expert in their family care. They not not have to be literate to join these sessions and in fact the less literate they are the more they are empowered by the health club.
From Individual Helplessness to Group Confidence
A woman as an individual is often powerless to effect any changes but when women get together they are a force to be reckoned with. The weekly meeting at the health club give women a chance to get organised and form an interest group to protect their own interests and ensure their families prosper.
Educated people who tend to make their own individual decisions regardless of the group, but uneducated people tend to rely on group consensus. The CHC Model achieves high levels of behaviour change because all individual action is based on common understand and this is more in line with traditional culture.
Read an article which outlines the value of group consensus and Ubuntu
Ability to manage their own family’s health and prevent disease
Women learn about how to prevent all common disease. This knowledge and understanding is often cited as the main reason women love attending health club sessions. Women want to know how to prevent malaria, HIV/AIDS and diarrhoea, as well as bilharzia, malnutrition, worms, skin disease and minimise respiratory infections.
They want to understand their own reproductive system and how to manage menstruation, child birth and menopause. CHCs reduce infant and child mortality and well as increase quality of life through prevention of malnutrition, and other childhood challenges so that mothers are effective in ensuring child growth and development
Read a moving example of the death of one child who should not have died
Economic Empowerment & Skills Development
When women have been together for some time in a Community Health Club they develop trust and reciprocity (i.e. Social Capital) which is the vital foundation of a good business. This enables women to make their own money so as to ensure their families basc needs are met. Women are more sensible than men with money and tend not to waste it on drink. See SDG 1 for ways that CHCs enable women to progress and become economically empowered.
Prevention of Gender Based Violence & Support to Widows
Having your own money means you have choices and makes you less dependent on your husband, which in turn makes him behave better towards you, If he know you have the means to support yourself you can leave him and so he has to be more respectful. He also know that he can be reported as fellow CHC members will notice if the wife has been physically abused.
Support for Rights of Women and Children
Women should know the accepted right of all human people to freedom of speech and expression, to own land and have an inheritance. They also need to realise the right of their children to good health and a basic education.