Nepal Family Health Program II—Literacy and Life Skills Component

Dates: 2007 – 2012

Funded by: USAID (World Education was one of several subcontractors to John Snow, Inc on this project)

Public health in Nepal, while improving, suffers due to inadequately trained and supervised staff and a lack of consistent supplies of essential drugs, resources and equipment; access to proper facilities; and knowledge about healthy behaviors and habits. World Education and its NGO partners implemented the Literacy and Life Skills (LLS) component of the Nepal Family Health Program (NFHP II), funded by USAID from 2007-2012 to help improve maternal and child health outcomes. LLS aimed to empower girls and women to change their health behaviors and access health services. It also aimed to build the capacity of Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV) to facilitate health education.

LLS had four activities:

  1. Learning Circles, a one-year program which targeted mothers groups to teach proper maternal health practices and was facilitated by FCHVs;
  2. Health Education and Adult Literacy (HEAL), a nine-month program cycle focusing on improving healthy behaviors and targeting 15-45 year old women;
  3. Small Grants Support Programs (SGSP) for HEAL groups to conduct health education activities in their communities; and
  4. Girls Access to Education (GATE), a nine-month program cycle for out-of-school girls between 10-14 years or age, teaching them about health and preparing them for school and their adolescent years.

Through the Learning Circles program, 1,619 FCHVs were trained, and 31,285 women of reproductive age participated in the program. GATE saw 4,316 adolescent girls participate, of whom 2,824 went on to enroll in formal school upon completion of the program. Of the 10,814 women of reproductive age who participated in the HEAL program, 4,854 in 221 SGSP groups became actively involved in carrying out health promotional activities.

The Literacy and Life Skills component increased participants’ awareness about health, turning it into action as well as advocacy for health services. Pre- and post-tests show that the health knowledge of participants increased after HEAL courses, and use of contraception, antenatal check-ups, and health facilities also increased. In addition, the program built the capacity of FCHVs as well as NGO partners.

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