Health Initiative Through Peer Education Program Launch
In July 2010, FHF’s Health Initiatives through Peer Education (HIPE) program, funded by NVIDIA Foundation’s High Impact Grant Program, was officially launched. We successfully trained 18 health educators from 3 rural schools and 3 orphanages. Friends of Hue’s HIPE project coordinator, Vo Thi Van Anh, has lead the local activities for the last 11 months: “Having grown up in the midst of this impoverished land, I understand the people’s arduous struggle for sanitation, hygiene, and basic amenities.” By utilizing local staff and training local students, FHF foresees the reverberations of HIPE to carry on long after the program is completed.
On a weekly basis, the peer educators actively engage their fellow students in the topics of personal hygiene, health, and environmental protection.
What are our Goals ?
FHF aims to reduce the prevalence of parasitic diseases, diarrheal diseases and trachoma infection among children in Thua Thien Hue’s poor communes. Collaborating with other NGOs and local partners, FHF is developing a curriculum to train youths in issues of personal and environmental sanitation. They will also learn professional skills in community leadership and collaboration. Once trained by FHF staff, these specially selected youths will return to their villages where they will lead individually–designed health education seminars in their communities. Not only do these youths receive an opportunity to develop their leadership skills but the community also reaps the rewards of better health. Peer-to-peer education, it has been proven, is more effective at creating habit-changing reform. By empowering youths, FHF hopes to create a new generation of community leaders and health educators.
One peer educator details her experience: “I’m proud to become one of the first peers to learn about personal hygiene, environmental protection and disease prevention at my beloved school. I understand how glad I am when students find us to ask for guidance because they sometimes forget to the steps or they just have argument among themselves on the classification of certain types of waste.” In addition to the impact of the peer educators on their fellow students, lessons from the HIPE program have been implemented into local schools’ standardized curriculum.
Pre- and post-surveys of HIPE participants knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors have revealed significant changes. After receiving HIPE training, students were able to answer 80% of the test questions correctly! Together with their peers, the peer educators are promoting an active learning environment while influencing their schools and communities in undeniable ways.