In rural China, 24% of people still live without access to basic sanitation facilities, and 12% still live without access to a reliable source of clean drinking water. This lack of facilities, combined with limited health-related awareness and habits contributes to preventable illness and disease. When children get sick, they miss school, reinforcing a cycle of poverty, low education, poor health and the unfulfilled potential of people with deep value, skills, creativity, and dreams.
HEAL addresses the needs for both WASH (clean water, sanitation and hygiene) facilities, as well as basic health education. HEAL constructs health facilities (drinking water system, hand-washing stations, sanitary toilets, showers, etc.) in rural communities or schools. A small team of health advocates (both students and adults) in each school or village are identified. Advocates receive training and then go on to lead health promotion activities for others in their community.
A community's health can be transformed by equipping key people to serve as health advocates, thus increasing health literacy and behavior in the general population. CWEF is committed to sustained health improvements in rural communities by developing local people as advocates, and by making improvements to needed health-related infrastructure. This combination of improved facilities, awareness and habits results in a stronger and healthier community over the long-term.