The Rainbow Stick Tool is one of the unique and innovative tools that Children for Health uses to motivate children to learn the 100 messages. Its like a ‘times table’ but made from health messages! For every message that a child learns and shares she is rewarded with a brightly-coloured ribbon (or other fabric), which she can then tie to a stick.
We know that children love to collect things. Each Rainbow Stick can have 100 ribbons by the time the child leaves primary school; a symbol of their health knowledge and a source of pride for their achievement amongst their friends and families.
Each ribbon or strip of fabric tied onto a stick represents one of Children for Health’s 100 messages. There are no ribbons given out for just learning the message. The message has to be shared and children should tell the story of that sharing experience!
There are 10 topics in the Children for Health collection, and each topic has its own colour. For example, Malaria is RED. Each time the children learn and shares a malaria message they tie a shade of red ribbon or fabric to their stick. The 10 Water, Sanitation & Hygiene messages are represented by shades of BLUE; Nutrition, shades of GREEN. Children can learn one message from each topic or many messages from one topic, whichever suits the health-education programme.
For All!… Children love to collect, they love to learn new things and they love to share. Each child can create a Rainbow Stick Tool of their own or there can be one for each club, year group or class. They are simple and cheap to make.
Fun!… The colourful Rainbow Stick Tool inspires and motivates children to collect as many ribbons as they can as they move through primary school, to help each other learn them well, to share stories about how they shared the messages with other children and in their families.
Memorable!… With support from their families and teachers, the Rainbow Stick Tool will enable children to record their progress and have a teaching tool to use with younger children. Just as children worldwide learn their ‘Times Tables’ until they can recite them, Children for Health aims to have all children knowing their ‘Health Times Tables’ the 10 topics x 10 messages = 100 – the most important, potentially life-saving, simple health messages.
Impressive!… Imagine many hundreds of children gathering as they graduate from primary school – all waving their Rainbow Sticks as they go to show their parents assembled there that they have (among many other things) learnt the 100 essential health messages for life! What a scene this would be!
Adaptable!… Children, their friends, teachers and schools may like to make up other messages and add new topics and shades of colour to the stick.
Understandable!… In Pakistan, the Rainbow Stick Tool was a great introduction to the Children for Health 100 health messages. Instantly understood by teachers and health workers alike.