Our Healthy Village approach began in Bangladesh.
It mobilizes everyone around child health, integrating WASH, nutrition & health care for mother and child to tackle undernutrition. Specifically stunting, when children are too short for their age. We work in poor, flood-prone, hard-to-reach areas of south coastal Bangladesh. Lives are improved through healthier communities, despite setbacks from floods and COVID-19, which has had devastating economic impacts.
Measuring child growth triggers behaviour change.
The first 1,000 days in a child’s life (which starts in the womb) are critical. Key elements: good hygiene and baby WASH, exclusive and complementary breastfeeding, pre- and post-natal care for mothers, and dietary diversity (for example through homestead gardening). Our interventions also help prevent disease (diarrhoea, COVID-19). This is done by: measuring growth of children under two and under five and peer learning about healthy behaviours in courtyard settings. Local champions guiding their communities (community support groups, school brigades). Local entrepreneurs increasing demand and supply to make being healthy possible (latrines, handwashing devices, micronutrient-rich foods, menstrual hygiene and family planning). Local institutions (WASH committees, community clinics) and all levels of government involved.
Long-lasting (measurable) results
Healthy Villages are officially designated by local government once over 90% of the community meets key criteria and maintains healthy practices for one year. The guideline for Healthy Villages has been developed and published jointly with the National Institute of Local Government (NILG) Bangladesh, as local government institutions officially declare villages ‘Healthy’. We aim to learn and share, hiring external experts to do research evaluating our approach, and linking to the government’s Horizontal Learning Programme for replication. Max Payment-by-Results (MaxPBR) is a key innovation in this programme. MaxPbR ties payment to local partners to results, to increase effectiveness and impact. We set up a call centre to verify data reported by our partners, with each household linked to a mobile phone number. This provides real-time checks on progress. We also used it to quickly roll out a COVID-19 campaign to combat misinformation and provide advice on prevention (handwashing, social distancing).
Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), Shushilan, Stichting Land Ontwikkelings Project Bangladesh (SLOPB), SKS Foundation, Jagrata Juba Shangha (JJS), Government of Bangladesh (DPHE, Horizontal Learning Program, National Institute of Local Government, Community Clinic Health Service Trust), Blue Gold, UNICEF, WASH Alliance, World Bank – WSP.