Community Health

Every mother wants her children to be healthy. In every village, in every country, every mother’s most desperate desire is to have enough food to feed her children. Regardless of language, culture or tradition, her dream is to watch her children grow, learn, play, laugh and have hope grow inside them. World Neighbors works alongside these families, accompanying them on the road toward well-being, working to reduce child malnutrition, maternal and child mortality, and the devastating effects of preventable infectious diseases.

babyThe communities where World Neighbors and its partners work are seriously challenged by lack of health services, poor roads, isolation, degraded soil and limited access to clean water. Community health in these villages is also affected by the political economy, violence, corruption and cultural traditions. The work of World Neighbors is to work together with the community, integrating their need for improved agricultural production, improved nutrition, income generation and good health.

Nutrition TrainingThe essential premise of World Neighbors community health programming is that all families have the right to live in a clean and safe environment with access to clean water, sanitation, adequate food and access to health services and health education. We work with our local partners, the Ministries of Health and other community organizations and NGOs to advocate and work toward improved health.

Along with World Neighbors area staff, the community assesses its own needs and resources and then proceeds with a plan to address their health concerns. These concerns can range from no sanitation facilities, lack of access to contraceptives, women giving birth without a trained attendant, inadequate quality and quantity of food to poor housing, lack of clean water and high prevalence of diarrheal disease and malaria. Building capacity and a continual focus on the inclusion of all community groups (e.g., women, youth, elders and indigenous people) is essential in the village development process to improve health in the community. The World Neighbors approach in Community Health includes the following issues: nutrition, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, infectious disease control, vector borne illness, immunization, health education and water and sanitation. 

World Neighbors initiates "health clubs" in East Africa


handwashing station
A handwashing station outside of a school in Tanzania.

Many people do not know that World Neighbors works directly with schools in East Africa. In many programs around the globe, World Neighbors has helped communities install water systems for their schools, but in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, World Neighbors has gone even further in its assistance with future generations. 

Two years ago, World Neighbors helped initiate a school program known as “health clubs” in Kenya’s Busia district. After its initial success, the program has since been replicated and has spread to 32 different schools in World Neighbors program areas throughout Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Nearly 135 students, ages from 11- 16, attend each school.

Each health club is supplied a curriculum created by World Neighbors. The curriculum addresses topics such as reproductive health (HIV/AIDS), life skills, gender sensitivity, environmental health, nutrition, first aid and School in Tanzania that has World Neighbors 'health clubs.'preventable common diseases, such as malaria.

The clubs help the students recognize how these issues impact their lives and the futures of their communities. However, it is not just the students who benefit from this work. As with any World Neighbors initiatives, the health clubs have a ripple effect. The children take both the knowledge and resources that they have gained back to their families allowing World Neighbors work to spread more rapidly. The children we work with are helping us create a better future for their neighbors and serve as a tremendous inspiration on this day of celebration and awareness.


Breastfeeding program in Bolivia dispels myths

The Pan American Health and Education Foundation financed a grant to World Neighbors to develop healthier practices in infant nutrition and overall health in the remote Potosi region of Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in the Western HemisphereA child in Bolivia.

In Potosi, there are many cultural challenges and sensitive issues relating to breastfeeding. Some of the negative beliefs are that breastfeeding a child immediately after birth causes babies to cry and feel pain, or that breastfeeding eventually leads to chronic hunger and disrespectful children.

By making the World Neighbors project possible, PAHEF’s support actively promotes the protection and advancement of infant and maternal health in Latin America.

During the first six months of the project, six different communities were identified and studied. The attitudes, practices, and restrictions in maternal breastfeeding were examined, along with the roles of parents and grandparents in relation to breastfeeding.

During the following nine months, World Neighbors developed and carried out a pilot intervention program. The program included:

• group and individual training for families, instructing them on the importance of breastfeeding; and
• the modification of traditional recipes, which are heavy on potatoes and low on nutrients, to become healthier for young children.

The changes promoted by the project have helped half of the undernourished children reach a healthy weight. The project’s ongoing challenge will be to improve and reshape local perceptions, beliefs, and customs about breastfeeding to advance infant and maternal health in the region. 


*Article taken from The Pan American Health and Education Foundation.
Read more at  

Community Health & Nutrition Resources 

World Neighbors in Action
“Understanding the Link Between Population and Environment Through Participatory Action Research”

“Helping NGOs & Community Groups Analyze Reproductive Health & Gender Issues”

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