READY for Health II

READY (Relating Adults and Youth for Health) II focuses on teaching adolescents in Cao Bang province how to make healthy lifestyle choices using skills developed through constructive relationships promoting communication among peers, parents & adult mentors.

Duration: 03 years (July 2010 – June 2013)
Donor: ADRA Australia
Budget: AUD 477,105
Location: Cao Bang Province (Phuc Hoa, Quang Uyen and Ha Quang districts)
Sector: Health – Education
Beneficiaries: At least 10,000 adolescents and staffs at 20 schools and alternative education centers and parents of adolescent children in communes/wards in three project areas.
Main partners: Cao bang Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education and Training (DOET), Provincial Women’s Union, Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Center for Preventive Medicine and Center for Reproductive Health.

READY for Health II shall be built upon the foundation already laid by READY for Health I, but with a different focus. While the project goal remains the similar, the immediate objectives of READY for Health II are to perfect the model’s key components, to build up the local capacities, and to hand over the model to the provincial authorities and technical staff, making it very different from the hands-on approach at the district/school/Alternative Education Centre (AEC)/community level of READY for Health I.

The key component of READY for Health II focuses on building institutional capacities for the local authorities and technical staff. The activities of this component include (1) systematic revision and localization of training documents and technical materials to make them ready for local use; (2) training and on-the-job coaching to strengthen local technical and administrative TOT capacities; and (3) advocacy at the provincial level for the application of the BCC and Peer Education model.

Stories from the project:

Long Tuong V., 13 years old, Student at Quang Uyen Boarding School

“Before, I was always having argument with my mother. In any small things, I would just say what I wanted, not caring about how she would feel or react. My mother also often lost her temper and scolded me, sometimes without good reasons.
At the puberty preparation session at my school, I began to understand why I was often at odds with her. Luckily, my mother also attended the activity, so I think now she understands me better as well. There was a game called ‘Understanding each other’ that both my mother and I played on the stage. I was worried when my mother was asked about my hobbies and when she was blindfolded and asked to identify me among other girls. I thought she wouldn’t know my hobbies or recognize me, but she did both, and it was nice.
After that session, at home, I found it much easier to talk with her. She also became more gentle and patient with me, and scolded me less. Now she would take time to explain to me why she would want me to do this or not to do that. I realized that she had always only wanted what was good for me. I also came and asked her things I wouldn’t ask before, especially things about body and puberty.
It is nice not to be fighting with my mother all the time, and to have a mother with whom I can talk and share things.”

Mrs Ngan, Adult Mentor

“Although I am a biology teacher, I rarely spoke to my students about gender or sex before. I was initially scared to be participating in this project, but soon after, I found that being able to protect my children from the monster that I had worried a lot about was a great motivation. I still remember the first lesson that I took. Talking about such a sensitive topic made my face turn red. Not only me but other teachers also shied. We, teachers, were just like children who first entered the door of school. But gradually, with the enthusiastic and considerate support of program staff, we got very good results. The approach of “Peer education” that the staff introduced to us worked very effectively. So it was the selected students we worked with who actually would teach the other students about the topic, which meant that the kids were a lot more open as they were talking to their peers. Now 300 students in my school are equipped with the knowledge and skills about sex and productive health, just by learning from their mates”- she smiled happily while showing me the photos of her training her students.  “Last week, one of my students shared with me an issue about romance and asked for my advice, which inspires me a lot. Now the students seem to be more open and not shy any more as the topic of sex is no longer taboo”.

So far, many teachers like Mrs Ngan are teaching SRH education at all schools in Cao Bang province, even in the most isolated and rural communities. The knowledge of “READY FOR HEALTH II” is slowly spreading, which ensures the sustainability of the program.

“We are building a team in charge of replicating the program in the district. It will continue and spread in the future like ripples in a pond. Then my people will be know to avoid the risks related to sex and enjoy a happier and healthier life” Mrs Ngan shared in joy.