Save the Children India have just released a report on its Stop Diarrhoea Programme in which Children of Health played a part.
We are delighted to see that by the end of the third year of this project the programme had reached 122,640 children! As the programme is designed to mobilise children as health activists in their families – we would expect each one of these children to reach others, including family members, with their messages and activities.
We developed a suite of materials on children’s participation in health focussing on messages and activities linked to 12 key ‘stop diarrhoea’ messages.
The materials included a Training Guide for Master Trainers, a Teaching Guide and an Activities for Children Guide. Then all these materials were translated into Hindi.
In November 2017, Clare Hanbury conducted a Master Training in Uttar Pradesh and then these trainers worked with government and non-government programmes in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country.
We are rather charmed to discover in the evaluation report that this part of the programme has been called ‘Clare’s Module’!
Children have the power to influence the transformation of communities by being agents of change when they commit themselves to working on causes and issues that matter most to them. Children’s participation is a key principle of the Unconventional on the Rights of the Child (article 12) and is also integral to the application of a rights-based approach. Programmes that focus on health and nutrition education can greatly benefit from children’s participation.
Building on its experience with children and with the firm belief that helping children learn more about how they can enact positive change within their communities will lead to desired improvement in health and WASH practices, Save the Children, from the very first year of its SDI project, initiated Child Health and Hygiene Clubs (CHHCs) in the project intervention areas.
Child Health and Hygiene Clubs
Purpose and objectives of CHHCs Save the Children is committed to the convection on the rights of child and child participation is integral to its vision, mission and theory of change. All programmes are expected to apply a global indicator on children’s participation. Children are both, the object and subjecting the Stop Diarrhoea Initiative. SDI’s decision to engage children was founded on the belief that: Children are keen learners and transmitters of knowledge and thus, effective change-agents,
- Children are vulnerable to diseases relating to inappropriate sanitation and hygiene facilities,
- Children’s participation can enhance programme effectiveness,
- Engaging children in such programmes can boost their confidence and enhance development.
With this in the background, the main purpose and objectives of CHHC intervention, under SDI, were:
- To make the club children change–agents amongst their school peers, family and community;
- To create and complete a circle of messengers by connecting children with recipients of other interventions; thereby connecting the multiple sources of key messages on the 7-point plan. For instance, children of CHHC share messages with their mothers, who could be part of a mother to mother support group;
- To create groups of children who are responsible towards WASH in their community; and
- To ensure sustainability of toilets and handwashing platforms constructed in schools
Child Learning Active Participation Tool:
The SDI introduced the Child Learning Active Participation Tool, called Clare’s module, in year 3. This is a master training guide for teachers and Child Health Volunteers to use as a reference for implementing CHHC activities in schools. The tool was rolled out in 105 schools where CHHCs were established in year 3 of the project.
Changes in diarrhoea related health and WASH practices
Knowledge of hand washing and toilet usage:
- The study team found that 9 /10 children in CHHCs were able to tell all the six steps of hand washing.
- 8/10 CHHC members could tell about all the critical times for hand washing. Prevention of diarrhoea was the single most cited benefit of using toilets. This was mentioned by all CHHC members.
- Some children mentioned reduction in flies and cleanliness as benefits of toilets.
Attitude towards hand washing and toilet usage:
- All children had a positive attitude towards handwashing and toilet usage.
- All CHHC members favoured hand washing with soap and water rather than only with water.
- All CHHC members shared that washing hands with soap after toilet use, before serving or consuming food, or after having food were the three main occasions for hand washing.
- All CHHC members shared that toilet usage reduces illnesses.
All CHHC members used toilets in school. When not in school, CHHC members use either individual toilets at home or community.
Children as change agents
CHVs encouraged children to function as change agents. The CHHC members are encouraged to model the behaviours they learnt and also share their lessons with others in school and in their community.