Reach Out has begun to collaborate with women in our community by creating Care Groups.
The Care Group model increases our organization’s capacity to reach as many women as possible. Our partners, and the true driving forces behind this project, are our Village Health Team (VHT) volunteers. We started this project by engaging three VHTs from separate villages in our township. These women know their communities:
- they know who is expecting a baby, and which children have received their vaccinations
- they know who has suffered from malaria in the past month, and who is getting married in the next
- they are trusted and respected – rightfully so.
Each VHT was asked to select five women from their community. We call these women “Lead Mothers”, because they will be educators and examples of healthy behaviours. Each Lead Mother was then asked to select ten women from within their respective villages. These groups, consisting of one lead mother and ten community women, are called Care Groups.
How Care Groups Function
Our organization hosts training for the VHTs.
These VHTs then train their Lead Mothers on the same content.
The Lead Mamas teach to their Care Groups.
Upon completion, Reach Out has hosted one small, affordable training… and yet 168 women have been reached.
Selecting training materials
We administer community needs assessments and consult the VHTs with their vast wealth of village- specific knowledge. Our first series targeted household nutrition and food security through perma-gardening workshops. We taught methods to improve soil quality, combat climate change, and increase crop production. We also discussed the health benefits of micronutrients and how to incorporate vegetables into traditional Ugandan meals. The series concluded with seed distribution; each VHT and Lead Mother received two varieties of vegetables. The women will share the harvest and have access to a diverse array of healthy options. Additionally, they will be able to save the seeds from these harvests and use them for the next planting season.