The last time I sent round a message it was to celebrate our 10th Birthday in July.
No, we haven’t been asleep! In August I go quiet and since the 1st of September I’ve been busy with Children for Health work and combining this with travelling in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland in my campervan! (See the end of the newsletter for photos!)
I’d like to tell you about three important new publications published in the past months.
Please share these with your networks.
My Hero is a storybook on the theme of Type 2 Diabetes. It combines a storybook followed by 10 activities for older children and educators to help children deepen and strengthen their understanding of the themes and ideas raised in the story. You can download it for free:
My Hero was developed over many months. It is a collaboration between the team at Children for Health and with children, their teachers, youth workers and public health professionals in Guam. It was funded by and supported by many different organisations in Guam.
We began the process by conducting ‘discovery conversations’ with health professionals, a teacher, and a youth leader. This provided an understanding of the main issues and challenges.
We then put together guidance for teachers in how to run workshops with children, using the participation of children in action and learning on the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. One of the workshop activities used the Children for Health Type 2 Diabetes poster that we published last year and shared in an update post. This poster was also co-created with experts and a team in Guam.
The teachers in Guam conducted workshops with the children and collected ideas and information from them. These included ideas for characters, situations, and little pieces of dialogue. The central character is Harry whose father is ill with Type 2 Diabetes, this idea and Harry’s worries are lifted straight from these workshops.
We have also launched a poster and storybook pair on the topic of inclusion!
This is a complex and important topic, and it took us many months to get it right. We were pleased to have invaluable help from Kelvin Nsekwila, John Siame, Joyce Munthali and Esther Nankamba and children at the Tusekwile Imiti Ikula Foundation school in Sansamwenje community, Isoka District, Zambia.
International experts on the topic of inclusion also guided us.
We worked on the poster alongside an inclusion storybook, A Mazing Treasures. The process of working on the poster (which we did first), meant that we could consult a range of global experts and distil the key messages we want all children to learn and feel able to share about inclusion. This process informed the development of the story.
You can download the story here…
You can read more about the story here…
Funding is through for work with allies, Dig Deep who work on school health and hygiene (including menstrual health) in Bomet Country, Kenya.
What is so great about this is that they have links to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Design (KICD). Dig Deep have asked Children for Health to help them finalise two learners and teachers’ guides, and to integrate the Children for Health methods and ideas within these guides.
We have some first draft messages for adolescents to learn on share on menstrual health that might be of interest too.
Funding for three more posters has come through! This was a wonderful 10th birthday present and means that we will then have 8/10 of our ‘10 key messages topics’ reviewed and turned into the illustrated resources that teachers find so easy to use.
We are now fundraising for a further £6,000 to COMPLETE our series of 10. Any ideas please let us know! Each poster costs around £3K and goes through a rigorous review and development process over a 6-month period with the involvement of schools, their teachers and children.
We have selected Water, Sanitation and Hygiene as our next topic as we can work with Dig Deep and our new allies in Kenya. Work is already underway with the wonderful team at Stowelink, based in Nairobi and with good links to Vihiga County, Kenya. Stowelink are specialists in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mobile health, and they are helping to work in schools where the teachers and children will review and test sets of new messages and illustrations. We are absolutely delighted.
By amazing good fortune, I am travelling to Kenya and Uganda in November so I will use this chance to undertake meetings and workshops with both Dig Deep and Stowelink and I am so looking forward to this. I’m meeting other allies too.
If you are based in Nairobi and reading this and want to meet up with me – then please get in touch. I have a tight time window in early November and early December but let’s try to meet!
Good news too that the Freddie Mercury Phoenix Trust has funded a second project in Eswatini that builds upon the first (HIV storybook and poster). This project will see us working with the schools and the children on sexual, reproductive health.
In the area where we are working, a high proportion of young adolescent girls are on the PrEP medication to prevent HIV. This may be because they are engaging in sexual activities. The school suspects there is a forced early debut and the children, and the children and their parents need educational and skills inputs.
We are going to work together to find out what the children need to become more aware of the dangers to their health and what support they need. There is a highly motivated head teacher with whom we have worked with on our HIV poster and storybook, and she requested our help to work on this lifeskills project.
Planning is underway for a project start in January 2024.
Our new Trustee, Dr Rashid Bajwa has initiated a new Children for Health-related project focusing on the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes, in Pakistan.
We are currently working with his team on a proof-of-concept stage in 30 schools and then hope to get more deeply involved once we have more information on the results of this.
We will also generate ideas on how the project can best be broadened to other health areas, implemented, and scaled. This is an organisation with the capacity to scale the programme widely in Pakistan. Exciting!
Those regular readers will remember our publication focusing on mental health and well-being. Hard copies have now arrived in Zambia and we are soon to have discussions on how we can build on our success developing this important new guide.
Here is the project leader and co-author, Kelvin Nsekwila with some of the children involed in the publication’s development!
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So, there is a lot of interesting work going on!
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
P.S. These photos were taken on my trip to Ireland where I am exploring in my van and working for Children for Health.