2008  WISA

 Water Institute of South Africa, Durban.  

Maksimoski, N & Waterkeyn, A.   

The Community Health Club Approach in Informal Settlements

Case study from eThekwini Municipality, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa

 The Community Health Club (CHC) Approach promotes sustainable and holistic community development by providing a structured learning environment for health promotion and water and sanitation activities. Although research has shown the CHC approach to be cost-effective in achieving continued behaviour change in numerous locations in Africa, most projects to date have been implemented in a rural context.  Most recently, there has been interest to apply this methodology to informal settlements in South Africa.  To determine if it is possible to translate the success of CHCs to this setting, Africa AHEAD, under the eThekwini Municipality’s Department of Water and Sanitation, implemented a pilot project in the peri-urban informal settlement of Johanna Road.  Although only at mid-point, tangible results such as a 75.6% increase in zero open defecation among CHC members, a 50% reduction of non-sanctioned dumping sites in the settlement, and increased health, hygiene, and sanitation knowledge in the community suggest that the CHC Approach is appropriate for informal settlements.  While change has occurred in a remarkably short time, alterations to the implementation strategy proved necessary in order to adapt the methodology to this context.