Malnutrition prevention through family-centered, holistic, community-based education
Second Mile’s community education Model
Second Mile Haiti offers holistic health and wellness classes to community members who are over 16 years of age in various neighborhoods of rural Northern Haiti. The classes can accommodate 30 participants at a time, and they take place during two hours a day, five days a week, for six weeks. That’s 60 hours per course!
Formal education can be hard to come by in northern Haiti, where the majority of people are facing extreme poverty. Across Haiti, only 60% of adults are literate. We offer this class because there is a huge demand for accessible adult education.
During the class we cover Second Mile Haiti’s standard adult education course that is also offered to caregivers at the Malnutrition Treatment Center. Each participant receives an educational booklet in Haitian Creole designed by Second Mile Haiti nurses. The topics covered throughout the course include:
Average Before and After Exam Scores by Gender
Hygiene and sanitation
Participants are required to come in pairs- one man and one woman from a household. They might be husband and wife, but oftentimes they are brother and sister, cousins, or friends. The only key is that participating households send two members, one being a man and one being a woman. Why? Because at the root of childhood malnutrition are issues like family planning, breastfeeding, nutrition, childcare, gender-based violence, hygiene, and so much more. Many of these topics are considered “women’s issues.”
We believe that women’s issues aren’t just women’s issues.
And children’s health is certainly not just a woman’s responsibility.
That’s why we make sure that the topics we teach at Second Mile Haiti reach entire families.
When participants successfully complete the course, they receive a goat that they can use to generate income for their family. This serves as an additional bonus and incentive for completing the course. To graduate, participants must be present for at least 59 of the 60 hours of the course and pass their exit exam.
The gift of a goat is a useful reward for families who make the 60-hour sacrifice to participate in the Community Education course.
Why Focus on Community Education?
Second Mile Haiti’s #1 goal is to address malnutrition in Haiti. At our Malnutrition Treatment Center, we focus on treating the immediate needs of children who have malnutrition while working with caregivers to prevent relapse. In 2016, we were able to put more energy towards preventative measures so that malnutrition would not occur in the first place. The Community Education program was born out of a deep understanding of the issues present in the communities surrounding the Second Mile Haiti Malnutrition Center.
Education Program Staff
Second Mile Haiti’s Education program is led by two educators who are trained in psychology: Louino Saint Germain and Stael Saintel.
Second Mile Haiti enlisted Louino’s help in designing the Community Education methodology and curriculum in 2016, and he has been a cornerstone of the program ever since. He received his original training as a psychologist in Port-au-Prince, and has extensive experience, having worked with organizations such as CMMB, AIDS Relief, Caris Foundation, and Gheskio. He first met co-founder Amy Syres while working at a local hospital in Limbe. He is most passionate about educating caregivers and working with children. His extensive experience working with HIV/AIDS children, providing post-disaster psychological support, focusing on gender-based violence, and even counseling kids living on the street makes him knowledgeable and an expert in his field. While his everyday work is in the education center at the malnutrition treatment center, he loves getting the opportunity to go do home visits, seeing how education and job creation is changing the lives of families.
With her background in psychology, Staelle can be found sitting under the large mango tree at the malnutrition center talking with Moms. Her love and passion for educating families came during her 5 months practicum with an HIV program, then a 3 month practicum at Second Mile Haiti. She believes strongly that the educating of children and parents is the key to changing the future of Haiti. Originally from the Northeast of Haiti, she has made Cap-Haitien her home since finishing university. The community health education program is her favorite part of her job- she loves seeing people who come everyday, learn, and put into practice the information to change the lives of their families and communities. Seeing families grow is what motivates her to come to work every day with a cheerful attitude, ready to teach and engage.