The Healthy Villages Model
In partnership with the Iganga District Health Office, UVP identifies communities that fall into the lowest quartile in sanitation and access to clean water in the district. We use this as our proxy for the most underserved villages and continue to expand each year in the 70 identified villages. We work in a village for three years, building relationships, strengthening connections to existing infrastructure, and providing education that prioritizes prevention over treatment. Core program areas include HIV/STIs, malaria, WASH, and sexual reproductive health.
UVP works with people, not for them, which is why we call the communities we work with “partner villages” because that’s how we see community members: as partners. Without their efforts and commitment, UVP’s programs would not be successful and communities would not see their health improve. We spend time meeting with our VHTs on a regular basis, building their confidence and capacity and include the village leadership counsel in all decisions. A people-centered approach allows us to build trust and ensure that the change realized in a village over the three years is sustainable.
Strengthening Connections to Infrastructure
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel! Infrastructure such as health centers, referral networks, and supply chains already exist in Uganda and UVP taps into these resources to make a big impact while keeping programming costs exceptionally low. From HIV testing kits and contraceptives to local health center staff and Village Health Team members, UVP connects partner communities with already available resources, introducing them to the value of such resources as preventative measures.
Focusing on Community Education
Education is the cornerstone of UVP and the primary way we deliver trusted information to our partner communities. In rural communities, formal education can be difficult to access, making information delivered from a trusted source in an informal setting one of the most common ways to gain valuable information. From large group gatherings where we test for HIV and provide education through an entertaining drama group to one-on-one interactions with Village Health Team members and healthcare workers from the local health center, UVP carefully crafts health messages to improve community members’ knowledge in various health areas and encourages small changes in behavior to realize the health benefits. UVP villages have shown an increase of 13% in health behavior practices over villages that have not worked with UVP.