Period of operation: one year
Implementing NGO: Samaritan’s Purse
Date of Training: 8th – 19th February 2021
Number of facilitators trained: 10
Number of Community Health Clubs formed: 4
Number of CHC members: TBA
Number of Beneficiaries: TBA
Status of training of CHC : ongoing
Manager : Samson Abuni
The project is running two areas of the country, in Unity and Agok. The team of 10 were trained in setting up a project and then in the monitoring and facilitation of the CHC. The project is in a very challenging area but despite the remote nature the online training succeeded. and the CHCs were registered and are running although there was delay in providing the visual aids which are needed.
Transforming Health and Hygiene: The CHC Approach in Mayendit County, Unity State, South Sudan.
Background.In the heart of Mayendit County, Unity State, South Sudan, a transformative initiative has taken root. The Community Health Club (CHC) approach, developed by AFRICA AHEAD, has brought about a positive change in the lives of the community, empowering them to take charge of their health and hygiene practices, even in the face of limited resources. The CHC approach is built on a fundamental principle – that communities, no matter their low-income level, they can still mobilize themselves to prevent diseases through improved hygiene. This model has a proven track record across Africa, driving communities to elevate their health and well-being.
In February 2021, Samaritan’s Purse took the initiative to train ten dedicated WASH staff members from two field locations, Mayendit and Agok, in the CHC approach. The goal was to equip them with the knowledge and skills to establish, train, and monitor CHC activities within their program locations. After this training, four Community Health Clubs were piloted in Mayendit County, with 180 enthusiastic members who willingly registered to be part of this transformative program. Each group consisted of 45 members, a design that accommodated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the span of six months, these CHC members actively engaged in 24 health dialogue sessions. Their dedication culminated in a joyous graduation ceremony at the end of the program, showcasing the immense progress they had made in improving their health and hygiene practices.
Impact of the Program.
The impact of the CHC approach has been tangible. Members of these clubs have constructed household latrines, bathing shelters, utensils drying racks, and tippy taps for handwashing, all using locally available construction materials such as poles, reeds, and grasses. These efforts are not just about building structures; they are about building a healthier future. One of the most compelling aspects of the CHC approach is its acceptance by the broader community. Villages are now eager to adopt this approach, recognizing the transformative power it holds. Many have requested that the CHC model be extended to their communities, a testament to its effectiveness.
Challenges and Lessons learned.
While the CHC approach has brought about significant change, it has not been without its challenges. CHC members face difficulties in accessing local construction materials, especially with the ever-present threat of flooding that has reeked havoc in the County for three years in row.
Moreover, a gender imbalance within Community Health Clubs has been observed. Men often resist volunteering in these clubs, believing that such work is the responsibility of women. They tend to focus on income-generating activities for their households. However, this has resulted in men missing out on valuable health and hygiene sessions that can lead to behavior change at the household level.