We base all our community health training from existing groups in churches. We have a bible based nutrition curriculum aimed at teaching women to understand their own health, family nutrition and the importance of breastfeeding.
We work through churches to train women as breastfeeding and early nutrition peer-supporters. The vision of this venture is to establish women’s groups which are a safe forum for women to learn about good child-feeding practices with a biblical basis. The aim being that, through sharing and gaining practical experience together, they will gain the skills needed to support other women in their own communities to make good child-feeding choices, even in challenging circumstances.
Within the groups health education is combined with biblical training and the women are encouraged to see their roles as peersupporters as part of their Christian ministry. Typically in this context, health education is delivered to women through a ‘top down’ approach within health facilities - women are given little opportunity to ask questions or engage in collective learning activities. We are working to establish groups within which these barriers can be broken down. We are using group based activities, discussions and practical resources. Through these we’ve seen the women open up, share their experiences and be willing to ask questions and engage together.
The training sessions that we run each week cover a number of topics, such as practical issues around breastfeeding; nutritious foods; and include topics such as reproductive health and HIV, which are also related to breastfeeding. Each topic has its own set of prompts - breasts crocheted by a nurse and supporter of the project; food sorting activities; and a flannel graph activity explaining the reproductive system.
Each of the groups also runs a VICOBA banking group which allows the women to make savings, and it also encourages attendance.