Community Engagement

Image

VHSG volunteers come together for a training on breastfeeding in Pursat Province, August, 2012

Village Health Support Group (VHSG)

Made up of local community members, the Village Health Support Group provides a wide range of services and resources. The key function of VHSG is to serve as the link between community and health facilities. In support of the Ministry of Health's efforts to strengthen local health mechanisms, RACHA augments the VHSG's with training and health education materials. VHSG's host health education sessions to equip community members with vital knowledge to,care for their families and plan for a healthy future. Health education sessions cover a wide range of topics, including water and sanitation, breastfeeding, infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, and family planning. This important cadre of community members serves as the eyes and ears of health facilities in the community. VHSG's maintain consistent and frequent contact with the community to promote practices of healthful living.

RACHA support VHSG volunteers throughout their post. RACHA educates and trains VHSG's in the initial stages. This training includes information on facilitation and communication skills with support from RACHA. Moreover, RACHA provides refresher trainings and continuing education throughout the year. RACHA works fervently to increase the number of VHSG's, but also to strengthen their knowledge and reach within the community.

Nun and Wat Granny

Carefully considering the social and cultural beliefs in Cambodia, RACHA utilized the structure of social hierarchy and the importance of religious institutions to develop a crucial and effective group of women to impact life-saving knowledge to younger families in the rural regions. A unique and innovative channel of community health education and mobilization, RACHA supports a group of nuns and wat grannies in the community to promote health messaging. These women are highly respected elders in the community sought out by families for a variety of concerns including health. In the Khmer culture, nuns and wat grannies are a wealth of knowledge from past generations and the younger families have a deep trust for their guidance. Nuns and wat grannies act much like village health volunteers hosting health promotion activities for families addressing a wide breadth of health issues from nutrition to HIV/AIDS to antenatal care. These women play a vital role in improving and ensure community health within the communities.