Interactive Education Is Essential in Encouraging Disease Prevention
Water Founder and President of the Maji Safi Group, Bruce Pelz, talks disease prevention in a new light.
What makes Maji Safi Group different?
Maji Safi Group (MSG) operates by training and employing local residents to be full-time Community Health Educators (CHEs). We use participatory development strategies to work with CHEs and community members to create programs that teach interactive disease prevention education in a culturally appropriate manner. Art, singing, dancing, sports, and fun community events that draw large audiences are all part of our educational approach.
Addressing the global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) crisis has traditionally focused on infrastructure-based projects (i.e. building toilets and wells). However, there is a huge gap between these projects and basic community understanding of WASH. MSG’s goal is to address this gap by focusing on the root causes of preventable diseases and teaching fun interactive WASH education that encourages people to adopt healthy behaviors that improve their livelihoods.
Why is behavioral change education an important part of the solution?
Community engagement, empowerment and change are the end goals of any behavioral change education program. Our CHE model gathers community input and engages community members to take responsibility for their own health. We have witnessed the community feeling empowered to mobilize and make their own public health decisions through behavior change education. Results from MSG’s third annual health screening campaign in 2017 indicated that MSG program participants once again had significantly lower disease prevalence rate than non-participants.
Do you think your solution could be implemented across different social causes?
Absolutely! Equipping a community with culturally appropriate and factual knowledge is the key to driving change and building capacity. The CHE model can create a movement towards any social change and could be adapted throughout communities around the world.