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Sensitizing and Mobilizing Communities in Zambia to Meet the Challenges of School Health and Nutrition and HIV/AIDS
July 2000 – July 2005

Africa MapThe nation of Zambia wished to overcome various development challenges in its education system, but the complexities of the situation were compounded by the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on the education system. USAID/Zambia turned to BEPS to develop an integrated strategy. The resulting project, Communities Supporting Health, HIV/AIDS, Nutrition, Gender, and Equity Education in Schools (CHANGES) aims to sensitize and mobilize communities to better access improved school health and nutrition. The project also addresses girls’ and other vulnerable children’s education to be able to face the serious challenges HIV/AIDS poses to the well-being of their communities. The project is a USAID/Zambia technical assistance program, which supports the Zambia Ministry of Education in improving educational access, and the quality and relevance of basic education by improving health and nutrition and increasing community participation in basic education.

School Health and Nutrition (SHN)

In Chadiza, Chama, and Chipata districts of the Eastern Zambian province, student health is being enhanced through the provision of Vitamin A and iron supplements and deworming pills provided to students via trained teachers. Additionally, teachers are receiving training in school health and nutrition, and life skills, and communities are being sensitized and mobilized through popular theatre, district field teams, and public gatherings. Special attention is being paid to the strengthening of relationships between health centers and schools.

Community Sensitization and Mobilization Campaign (CSMC)

In Kazungula, Kalomo, and Choma districts of the Southern Province, popular theatre is facilitating community participation in designing solutions to a number of issues related to increasing girls’ and other vulnerable children’s attendance and retention in school. District and community action plans are being designed and implemented to resolve community concerns through popular theatre and participatory action research. Provincial and district government officials are receiving training in community participation methodologies related to gender equity; and teachers are being trained to integrate life skills throughout their curriculum.

Mitigating the Effects of HIV/AIDS

The school health and nutrition, and community sensitization and mobilization components of this project heavily emphasize HIV/AIDS prevention and support. Sensitization and training in HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation are integrated into each of the project’s objectives.

Small Grants Provision

In collaboration with CARE International, small grants are being provided to communities, local NGOs, parent-teacher associations, and other local organizations to reinforce and extend the work realized through each of the CHANGES program components. During the second phase of the CHANGES project, each of its components will be expanded at the district and national level to include each of Zambia’s provinces.

The CHANGES project seeks to achieve targeted goals, including improvement in the health of school-age children, resulting in enhanced cognitive ability and achievement in school; provision of targeted teacher training; and increased enrollment and school retention rates of girls and other vulnerable children.

Resources

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