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close this bookEducation for Health (WHO, 1988, 274 p.)
close this folderChapter 6: Health education with communities
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWhat is a community?
View the documentWhen is community health education needed?
View the documentGetting opinion leaders involved
View the documentThe role of local organizations
View the documentThe community health committee
View the documentAdvisory and planning boards
View the documentIntersectoral coordination groups
View the documentOrganizing a health campaign
View the documentSpecial community events
View the documentMobilizing community resources for a project
View the documentDeveloping a partnership with people
View the documentThe role of the community health worker

Special community events

Every community has festivals, celebrations, and ceremonies. These may mark special seasons of the year such as harvest time, the planting season, or the new year. Some festivals are religious or political, others are held in remembrance of national events and heroes. There are usually many such events throughout the year.

Some festivals are a time for enjoyment and relaxation. Others call for serious thinking and quiet devotion. Whatever the purpose of the festival may be, the whole community usually participates.

Educational value

Most community events have some connection with the health and welfare of the community. A harvest or thanksgiving festival is a time for enjoying and appreciating the bounty of the earth. It can also be a time to think about such things as:

- Nutrition.
- Food storage.
- What use to make of profits.
- How to plan for a better crop next season.

The high level of interest and excitement found during festivals and celebrations can be focused on these issues, which are all related to health. Health education in the form of drama, song, dance, displays, school projects and group discussion can be planned for the time of the festival. If the event is political or religious, opinion leaders could be asked to refer to health concerns in the speeches and sermons. During the festival period, special activities could be organized by schoolchildren for their schools and their parents.

Talks and demonstrations could be given at the clinic. Let people know that the topic is related to the festival taking place. Use traditional dancing, singing, plays, story-telling, and other forms of art.

Planning educational programmes for an event or festival is much like planning for a health campaign. Therefore be sure that the community groups and committees participate in the selection and planning of the educational activities. Again, as in campaigns, community participation is necessary to guarantee follow-up which will ensure that people's new ideas and skills are not lost.

What are some of the festivals and events in your community? How is each festival related to health or community development? What kind of educational activities could be useful in each festival? Who are some of the local opinion leaders, artists, and community workers that could assist in educational programmes?


A community festival.