Village Public Health Presentation and Performance Team

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Village Public Health Presentation and Performance Team

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Drawing upon methods used in the Kakuma refugee camp, returnee Angelo Kiir will help train a team of village health workers in southern Sudan to give public presentations in basic disease prevention, enabling villagers to make informed health choices and educate their peers.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Remote villages like Wunlang in southern Sudan suffer from a severe lack of health care – both in terms of qualified practitioners and the services available. People who are sick or need care must walk or be carried to the nearest medical facility. Many people die before they get the care they need. Many others suffer from diseases that are easily prevented or for which treatments exist if they were accessible to remote villagers. It will take some time before government-sponsored public health services reach the remote locations where Village Help for South Sudan does its work. Community civic engagement in public health information and knowledge dissemination at the village level is currently inadequate. An approach is needed that will be effective in rural areas with high illiteracy rates.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The mission and working model for Village Help for South Sudan has always been to strengthen the capacity of villagers by enabling members of the diaspora to apply their knowledge and talents to village development projects. The health conditions in remote villages give us a unique opportunity to engage and empower villagers and to increase their health literacy and choices for participating in the public health services of the region. Rural South Sudanese villagers are disenfranchised in many ways and lack all but the very basic infrastructures to support their communities, including education and public health. Most of the rural populace has never attended school, and the illiteracy rate is very high. Their culture, however, is rich in oral traditions, and communities use socially interactive means to govern themselves and address community issues. Public health education, therefore, needs to consider these factors to be effective. Our idea is unique in that it utilizes public health methods that were effective in refugee camps with which our Field Director has first-hand knowledge. This performance-based approach will work well in remote villages where the citizens can learn through listening and watching, not through reading and writing. Just as the health teams in the camps were composed of refugees themselves – recruited and trained for this purpose – the village public health teams would also be members of the target community served.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Village Help for South Sudan was founded more than 3 years ago to support the efforts of remote villagers and the South Sudanese diaspora to contribute to the sustainable development of their homeland communities. Our mission has guided us in village partnerships that have resulted in a more engaged citizenry. From the outset, all of our development work is done by villagers and their diaspora counterparts, starting with assessments to identify and prioritize needs and the capacity to address them. Our village teams have created for their communities: the Wunlang School, the Wunlang Village Health Center, clean drinking water installations, pit latrines, and sanitation training. We have delivered and distributed books, teaching materials, and school supplies for 400 students and teachers. We are now delivering midwife kits to the Health Center and supporting the training needs of traditional birth attendants. Our projects have helped develop local skills and provided livelihood support by utilizing a local work force for all construction and field management tasks, including brick-making, building construction, carpentry, furniture-making, and the manufacture of uniforms. We provided jobs to several adults who had never before had the opportunity to work for pay. We conducted teacher training sessions and taught a literacy program based on the Concentrated Language Encounter (CLE) method designed by Rotary International. This was the first introduction of new teaching techniques the teachers of Wunlang had ever experienced.
About You
Village Help for South Sudan
Section 1: You
First Name


Last Name



Village Help for South Sudan


, MA

Section 2: Your Organization
Organization Name

Village Help for South Sudan

Organization Phone


Organization Address
Organization Country

, MA

Your idea
Country and state your work focuses on

, XX

Do you have a patent for this idea?


Our action plan for this program consists of:
Recruit the team.
Provide costumes, musical instruments, and other materials needed.
Train the team in the presentation and performance methodology.
Identify and assess the public health needs of the area.
Create, schedule, and conduct the presentations and associated village outreach based on the assessment. (Although the specifics are left to the local assessment, examples of probable topics are: better health through sanitation; best childbirth practices; HIV/STD awareness; overview of area health services; participate in determining the health services to be provided by Wunlang Village Health Center to open later this year; the importance of taking all doses prescribed for diseases like malaria and TB.)
Document performances with photos and video.
Interview area clinicians to see if performances are leading to desired health practices and empowerment.
Make improvements and repeat the program cycle for future health teams.


The program will engage one performance team of 10 health workers in Year 1. The first team will serve as co-leaders in the formation of two new teams in Year 2 with new participants reaching new citizens in the community. Likewise, the Year 1 & 2 teams will help four new teams to extend the reach of the program even further in Year 3. Each team will develop and conduct 12 performance-based presentations in the health issues and advocacy needs of the community based on their assessments. The lessons learned by the participants will inform the improvements needed for future work.
The Director will monitor the progress and measure the impact of the program, seeking the involvement of the local health committee and others. Measurements will look at results in terms of: number of health topics addressed, performance attendance, awareness of health risks, and adherence to healthy lifestyle practices.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

To be successful, the Village Public Health team must reach as many people as possible with its presentations and performances. In addition, the health teams themselves must become a leadership component of health promotion within the community. For these reasons, our program cannot rely on just one team or operate for a short period of time. Diffusion of this innovation will require a sustained, long-term effort, and the teams must constantly monitor the health needs of the community and make adjustments to the composition of the teams, the topics addressed in their presentations, and target audiences to whom they reach. An outbreak of a particular disease, for example, would likely affect the team’s work and priorities.
Each health team must include both women and men who represent a cross-section of the community and its families targeted by their presentations and outreach.
Sufficient funds must be available to pay stipends to the village health workers who join the teams and carry out the work of the program. Additional funds are needed for materials and equipment the teams will need to make their performances, monitoring, and documentation successful.
The Director must communicate with and lead the teams successfully and help them organize and present effective performances. The Director must be supported by the nascent village health committee, the Ministry of Health staff, the Director of Alternative Education, and the supervising staff of the village health center – all partnerships seen as critical to our success with this program.
Finally, program success relies on the enthusiastic participation of the villagers, something we have had much success with in all of our work in South Sudan. Not only must the citizens attend the performances and heed the health practices presented, but they must become engaged as active participants in the organized public health efforts of the region and the country.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Insofar as this is a multi-year program that starts small and builds on past lessons learned as it expands, some possible constraints to be managed are:
Lack of start-up funds. Although Public Health, including initiatives such as this, should ultimately be funded by the governments involved, much suffering in remote villages in South Sudan can be relieved with a short-term, grass roots program that can be easily implemented now with our help.
Failure to incorporate performance-based village health education into government-sponsored public health administration.
A disruption of peace in the villages supported. Remote villagers suffered through many years of civil war before the peace agreement took effect in 2005. While some semblance of this program could be implemented even in conflict areas, priorities in an emergency situation may direct resources elsewhere.
Failure of the program to evolve flexibly, adapting to the changing public health situation in the communities served.
Reticence about discussing STDs and other health issues in public, although this can best be resolved by villagers (single-sex audiences for some presentations, medical emphasis on its importance).

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?


What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

In what country?

, XX

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Village Help for South Sudan, Inc.

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

The Government of the semi-autonomous South Sudan is a nascent government -- only five years old -- and after January 2011 may be the government of a newly independent South Sudan. The Ministry of Health is also a new entity on both the national and local levels. By piloting this project we will create a model that, by partnering with the Ministry of Health, can be used nationwide.
Another example is our good relationship with the Director of Alternative Education. This kind of peer-to-peer teaching that the performance team model offers, and its mobility to reach even into the cattle camps, where many people live for much of the year, fits well into the strategy of the Directorate.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

First year actions needed:
Provide funding for stipends, costumes, musical instruments, equipment, and local travel.
Recruit and train the first team.
Schedule, publicize, and document (photographic and video documentation) the performances.
Conduct the program in partnership with the village health committee and staff of the village health center.
Consult with the Ministry of Health and the Director of Alternative Education.
Build county-level partnerships.
Year 2 actions:
Recruit and train 2 new teams and move the program into other villages in the county.
Conduct and document the program in partnership with the county-level health administrators and the health committees of the new villages.
Consult with the Ministry of Health and the Director of Alternative Education.
Build state-level partnerships.
Year 3 actions:
Recruit and train 4 new teams and extend the program into other parts of the state.
Conduct and document the program in partnership with the state-level Ministry of Health, Director of Alternative Education, the relevant county administrators, and the health committees of the new villages.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Angelo Ngong Kiir was a refugee for most of his life before resettling in the United States in 2001. In the refugee camps where he lived for 11 years, he and his peers saw and participated in performance-based techniques used to inform and educate the residents of the camp on health issues and disease prevention in the densely-populated environment. Refugees would participate in theatrical performances and use puppets to convey information in an oral and visual way to help camp residents adapt to conditions in the camp, including HIV and other STD risks.
Now Angelo has returned to Wunlang as Field Director for area project work. Since the peace agreement took effect in 2005 and increasing rapidly as the referendum for independence approaches in January 2011, hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees have returned to South Sudan, the majority of them to the region where Wunlang is located. While the population density of the overall area does not match the conditions of the refugee camp, the high number of returnees to areas where infrastructure and services were grossly inadequate even for the pre-returnee population.
Health care services and options for the sick are not only inadequate but non-existent in most remote villages. The conditions are rapidly declining with the increasing population, creating an urgent need for health information. With the high rate of illiteracy, the same approaches used in the refugee camp can be effective in the villages of southern Sudan.
Later this year the Wunlang Village Health Center will open and begin to provide a limited set of services based on shared regional staff availability and capacity of the facility. Along with clinic services, we need a sustainable community public health education program. Angelo and his peers remembered their experiences from the refugee camps, and we realized that, under Angelo’s leadership, remote villages would have the tools and capability to set this up. We have also witnessed villagers being pro-active in other village work, such as brick making, organizing construction delivery, acquiring textbooks, and addressing the food support needs of their students.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

We are submitting this idea on behalf of Village Help for South Sudan. The organization as a whole is the social innovator behind this collaborate effort. Three of our social innovators are Franco Majok, Lisa Deeley Smith, and Ron Moulton.
Franco arrived in the United States as a refugee from southern Sudan in 1998. When the “Lost Boys of Sudan” refugees began arriving in 2000, Franco was hired by a social services agency to lead their resettlement program for unaccompanied minors in the Boston area.
Ron and Lisa each helped with the resettlement as host and foster families, and then became active volunteers assisting the whole community at large.
The Sudanese Education Fund helps Southern Sudanese in Massachusetts. Ron and Franco have served as board members, and Ron led a 2-year technology program. Not only did he get the community set up with computers, but he trained and empowered the Sudanese so they now assist each other with technology issues.
In 2007 they co-founded and became board members of Village Help for South Sudan. The organization has enabled Franco Majok to make a reality from his dream of building a school in his village in South Sudan: setting up the non-profit status, formulating a budget and a timeline, filing all our financial reports, working out our international money transfers, speaking and advocating for the group.
On trips to Sudan the trio packed a satellite solar-powered modem and other equipment, and they assisted villagers in setting up a mobile field office in one of the most remote rural villages in Southern Sudan. Committed to bringing appropriate, sustainable technology to South Sudan, they have been joined recently by another former refugee who is a senior electrical engineering student who, with his university team, is designing a sustainable energy solution for remote villages.
Led by Franco, the organization has developed and sustains active and effective partnerships in the villages where we work and in county, state, and national governments. In addition, we have partnered with other non-profits and provided training to other Sudanese in the diaspora who want to give back to their country. We seek ways to collaborate with and extend our knowledge to others, whether or not they are part of Village Help for South Sudan.

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