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COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES 

The HRIDAY-SHAN model explains the philosophy of HRIDAY’s community based intervention programmes wherein education imparted to youth and community at large, makes them aware about various health issues. This awareness is supported by appropriate skills, which are imparted to this well informed group of youth and adults. The SHAN component of the programme imparts advocacy skills to the youth and motivates them to become effective health activists who can voice their demands on health related policies. This aspect of the programme empowers the youth community by enabling a sense of ownership among the youth activists for these activities and health issues. Such interactions conducted regularly lead to an ownership of the issue. Three outcomes of these efforts i.e. awareness, skills and ownership bring about a positive change in terms of adopting healthy practices and changing governmental policies towards health promotion. These policies in turn provide a conducive environment to sustain this changed behavior.

Community Outreach Programmes (COP): With the help of schools, HRIDAY organizes community outreach programmes-“Humne Seekha Hai” (We have learnt). Display of posters at bus shelters, market places and interactions with the neighborhood community are components of these campaigns. In this model, schools and colleges serve as facilitators of community health education-for transfer of health related knowledge from experts, represented by governmental agencies and health non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to the neighborhood communities

With the help of above mentioned awareness and advocacy tools, an improvement in the health of the people at the regional, national and international level is envisaged using the HRIDAY-SHAN model. This model of school –community interactions starts at the individual classroom level, wherein trained Peer Leaders communicate with their classmates on health issues. Their attitudes and commitment get transmitted to other classrooms in the same school through intra school interactions and to the other schools through inter school activities. As a result, the network grows wider and health messages that are imparted easily transform into adopted actions. At the school level, these interactions influence the students, the teachers and the school environment (rules, norms and policies) towards health promotion. The activities aim to positively alter knowledge on health issues, change their attitudes towards health promotion and as a result provide them dexterity to adopt healthy behaviors in their lives

ACHIEVEMENTS

As a result of HRIDAY pro-active approach in school and community based health education programmes, many schools in India under this programme have formed tobacco free school policies and have declared their campuses to be “Tobacco Free”. These policies were formed by students in consultation with teachers and school management. The schools have been successful in inculcating healthy lifestyle practices among Indian youth particularly showing the impact on reduction and prevention of tobacco use behavior. This is a successful model of community empowerment as onus of implementing and monitoring this policy rests with the school community. The results of HRIDAY’s successful community intervention programmes were shared during ‘Global Youth Meet on Health’ (GYM-2006) and Global Youth Meet on Tobacco Control (GYM-2009) held in India in the year 2006 and 2009 respectively. The participants from various national and international organizations were oriented on health issues, using HRIDAY’s innovative health education strategies. This initiative empowered youth leaders through enhanced health awareness and strengthened their health advocacy skills.

Tobacco use Among Young Persons Belonging to Low Socio Economic Groups in Urban India: Dimensions, Determinants and Dynamics of Behaviour Change through a Community Based Intervention

HRIDAY has a decade long extensive experience of working with school going students of 300 schools in Delhi and 9 other states of India, on preventing and reducing tobacco use among youth. Now HRIDAY-SHAN has adopted its health promotion and health advocacy model for the youth living in urban slums of Delhi with the intent of promoting tobacco cessation among them. In this context HRIDAY conductED a research project entitled  Tobacco use Among Young Persons Belonging to Low Socio Economic Groups in Urban India: Dimensions, Determinants and Dynamics of Behaviour Change through a Community Based Intervention

The project was planned in three phases. Phase-I was conducted in two slum communities in Delhi, which included exploratory discussions to recognize the problem of tobacco use among youth. The goal of this project was to develop, implement and evaluate the cost effectiveness of a multi-component, community based intervention programme for promoting tobacco cessation among young persons (ages 10-19 years), belonging to low SES, in Delhi. In Phase-II, a demonstration project was conducted in two slum communities of Delhi i.e in Seelampur and in Gautampuri.