1.6.1  Participation

Health education is an attempt to influence people’s behaviour towards healthy practices. Any attempt to implement health education in your community and to change behaviours will be most effective if the Health Extension Practitioner is closely involved with the individuals, families, community groups as well as kebele administrators and other stakeholders at community level.

Participation helps people to identify their own need for change and promotes the ability to choose for themselves methods and strategies that will enable them to take action. The participation of all community members is essential to gain support and also to be able to use locally available resources. Participation will help you to utilise local resources as well as build local partnerships and use community members as teachers and experts within their particular cultures.

  • Assume that in one of the villages you are working in you observed more malaria cases than previously had occurred. You had gone to the area and observed that there is one place favourable for mosquitoes to breed. You now want to use health education to enable the community to destroy the mosquito breeding site. Who do you think you should talk to first about this problem?

  • Participation of community leaders and other members of the community will be crucial for your health education session to destroy the breeding site. You will have to consider how to involve these key people before deciding how to conduct your health education sessions.

1.6  Finding out what’s going on in your community

1.6.2  Using multiple methods and materials in health education