Healthy Village approach
We focus on changing behaviour for better health. A nutritious, diverse diet; improved sanitation; safe water; and hygiene (or WASH, also specifically for babies). We create demand for products that make being healthy possible. These include handwashing devices, homestead gardening, and improved care for mothers and children under five, such as breastfeeding and postnatal care.
The Healthy Village approach focuses on the outcome: child health. As NGOs we often focus on one aspect. What makes our approach special? We combine food and nutrition security, WASH, and care to tackle stunting and improve child health. COVID-19 has shown the need for increased community resilience. Healthy Village supports this, by empowering local communities to be champions of their own change.
What is a Healthy Village?
A village is officially declared ‘Healthy’ once everyone (90%+) meet and maintain key indicators. These include handwashing with soap at the five critical times, use of hygienic latrines, regularly monitoring child growth, pre- and post-natal care for women, menstrual hygiene, and meeting minimum dietary needs – especially for pregnant and lactating women and children under five.
Ensuring long-lasting results is key. We do this by making the local community, entrepreneurs and government owners of the process. Local entrepreneurs, trained in marketing, sell healthy products and services. They then drive demand. For every dollar we spend on improved sanitation, communities invest almost six.
Adapted from community-led approaches on hygiene and sanitation, Healthy Villages follow a pathway to sustainability. The phases are 1) inception to 2) mobilising community stakeholders (e.g. support groups, schools) and caregivers, to 3) graduation, to 4) official declaration as a Healthy Village by local authorities, and finally to 5) handing over ownership to those stakeholders.