With help from international humanitarian and development charity, Concern Worldwide, Care Groups are transforming child rearing in communities blighted by poverty and hunger in Burundi.
The groups, made up of local volunteers, work to mobilise whole communities to make behavioural changes to improve the health and wellbeing of local children.
The volunteers (usually community health educators) meet with a trainer and learn how to teach others the good practices that can reduce the instances of the leading causes of child death; malaria, malnutrition, diarrhoeal diseases and respiratory infections.
This information is then spread from neighbour to neighbour by the Care Groups – greatly extending the benefits of the existing formal health system.
Convinced of the importance of the knowledge they bring, Diane Nzeyimana (pictured left) – a mother of three – has never missed a Care Group meeting. She said,
“My youngest son Liévin is healthier than his older siblings were at his age,” she says, attributing this to the skills she learnt from her local Care Group volunteers.
She continued, “The volunteers are extremely important to us because they help us to improve the health of our children.
Thanks to the volunteers, we know how to feed our children a balanced diet.
I also know how to prevent my children from becoming ill through better hygiene. As a result, I can see how much healthier my son Liévin is today.”
The effectiveness of Care Groups nearby has led a group of mothers in Rugwiza, a newly constructed village in Burundi, to set up their own Care Group.
Find out more about the Care Groups and the work the charity do by visiting the Concern Worldwide website.