Empowering Rural Female Community Health Volunteers
Published on: 11/06/2019
The Female Community Health Volunteer (FCHV) program in Nepal was started in 1988 by the Ministry of Health and Population. The program aims to enhance the outreach of health services through the empowerment of women with skills and knowledge. FCHVs are local people who work voluntarily with local health posts. They play an important role in the dissemination of health information and the provision of health services.
The FCHV program has made significant contributions to challenging patriarchal norms and championing female leadership. We decided that supporting and utilising these influential community groups to achieve Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) goals could be fruitful.
FCHVs come from a variety of backgrounds. Reflecting on this and the lived experiences of different groups in society is important when considering vulnerability and individual agency. Gender, age, ethnicity, caste, wealth, marital status and other factors influence roles we hold in society and our relationships with others. If these factors are ignored, DRR initiatives can’t be inclusive or as impactful.
Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency First Aid trainings were recently conducted with four FCHV groups. The trainings covered preparation for and response to earthquakes, fire prevention and response, managing stress, the primary survey, psychological first aid, burns, bleeding, shock, the recovery position and CPR.
The training sessions involved role play, demonstrations, discussions, knowledge tests and group work. We also mapped the spatial distribution of the FCHVs and distributed First Aid boxes to some of the most remote FCHVs. We hope the trainings have better prepared the FCHVs to serve their communities.
Jac Carter (EU Aid Volunteer)