Community Health Clubs are voluntary groups of men and women of all ages and education levels who meet weekly to address local public health challenges. Africa AHEAD helps to initiate the registration of members, training of trainers and the development of a tool kit of visual aids which can be easily used by semi-literate villagers to help each other understand basic hygiene issues. CHC members are trained to understand all diseases which can be addressed by hygiene behaviour change and improved standard of living. This is a holistic and integrated approach (One Health Approach) which seeks to unify the community and enable them to have a common understanding of public health issues which threaten the survival of under 5’s, including the prevention of diarrhoea, malaria, bilharzia, pneumonia, skin disease, parasitic worms, malnutrition, stunting, HIV/AIDs as well as child care and maternal reproductive health. One topic is addressed each week over a 6 month to one-year period. The aim of methodology is to enable all families to mange their own health and hygiene successfully, through primary health care and non-risk hygiene practices. As anti-microbial resistance is becoming an issue world wide which is threatening the well being of everyone, it is important that subsistence communities also know how to address this challenge.
The training available in Community Health Clubs is a participatory method of learning and sharing experiences which enables group problem solving without a top-down information flow to inform people. Rather it is an iterative process of self-learning which leads to a self-reliant community which does not become donor-dependant, and can solve much of the challenges with their own resources. For this reason, a well-crafted tool kit of visual aids is essential, and we take great care to develop visual aids which represent the local culture and context, so that people can recognise themselves in the pictures. The visual aids are used in a variety of ways, with interactive activities such as Story with a Gap, Three Pile Sorting, Ranking, Blocking the Route and other creative games, including drama and song. We avoid all use of pen and paper, flip charts, flow diagrams and other standard educative teaching methods for literate learning.