Improving Health in Haiti, from Kids to Communities

For active young adults, being informed about one’s health is crucial. Players in the GOALS programs must know how to protect their health, when to go to the doctor, and how to prevent disease. At GOALS, we’ve zeroed in on the most important issues relating to the health of our participants and their families and developed a series of seminars to help spread information and train peer educators. This month, we are bringing communities in Léogane, Haiti health seminars that focus on preventing diseases such as cholera, sexual health and decision-making, diabetes, and oral hygiene. Our partner clinic, Klinik Kominote, will provide services and technical training. Our emphasis on healthcare ties into our broader mission of improving quality of life for participants on a daily basis.
Our methods reflect our commitment to developing leadership skills for long-term growth. First, we conduct in-depth staff training so that site coordinators are well-versed in the topic at hand. This is critical, since children and adults alike in communities with GOALS teams often approach the site coordinator with health-related questions. Second, these site coordinators then conduct health education workshops in their communities with the assistance of senior staff. This gives coordinators a chance to learn through teaching, gain public speaking experience, and demonstrate leadership qualities to our program participants. Third, these participants, typically teenagers, assist the site coordinators and senior staff to bring this information to their families and to the general public. This is the last step, and the most important. Site coordinators and program participants work together to teach what they have recently learned, and they do so in creative ways. Engaging and funny skits on the importance of washing hands, for example, send the crowd off roaring with laughter. Bringing humor and theater to the discussion engages people of all ages, and makes the educational seminars fun and inviting for everyone. This is a unique combination of things, laughter and learning. At the end of the day, this approach lies at the core of GOALS’ approach. Engaging the community, making sustainable development fun, learning through teaching – this is what GOALS is all about. This is why we think that making a difference can feel good for everyone involved, and be effective to boot. Bravo to all of our fantastic teachers and leaders, from staff to students! For more information on our ongoing health seminars, and an upcoming mobile clinic, don’t forget to visit us on Facebook and Twitter!

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