Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene

Health Education for Primary Schools Project (HEPS)

Location: Benin

Donor: USAID

Duration: 1995 - 2003

Funded by USAID, HEPS aimed to encourage local organizations to work with one another in the pursuit of sustainable development. HEPS was a multi-faceted project in which skills and knowledge were transferred to primary school students through local NGOs and community support groups.

The goal of HEPS was to heighten the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of primary school children in the areas of health and hygiene. This project contributed to USAID/Benin's goal of strengthening the country's human resources base and complemented its strategic objective of increasing the access of Beninese children to quality primary education. The HEPS project also promoted preventive health care by disseminating knowledge about disease prevention and increasing the number of latrines at the school to improve sanitation and the learning environment of primary-school children. It also helped to improve the capacity of local NGOs, parent-teacher associations, and community groups to understand and deliver important health messages to school children and the larger community.

MCDI's work in Benin included the development of behavior-change materials for health education, providing sanitary infrastructure to more than 300,000 students, supporting the MoH's health program in the schools, and conducting operations research that focused on schools as distribution channels for insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) for malaria prevention. The HEPS approaches to school hygiene and developing health-education materials were adopted by the Ministry of Health and the field personnel of other international NGOs after project close-out in 2003.

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