Purpose of Education

  1. The most important aim of the education committee is to raise the health standards of our target communities by empowering them with the knowledge required to manage health and hygiene standards at a personal as well as a community level. Ultimately, we aim to increase the sustainability of Project Sothea by doing this. Our areas of interest are extremely diverse. For the past 7 years, we have been educating residents on basic hygiene and sanitation, including how to obtain clean water sources and basic first aid. Recently, there has been an increased focus on family planning and sex education.
  2. Introduce health education to local communities through engaging and insightful methods, such as performing skits or conducting Q&A discussions.
  3. Motivate educated Cambodian locals to apply their knowledge on a daily basis, by highlighting the importance of such good habits during our health education lessons.
  4. Provide tailored counselling and advice to residents so that they understand their current health condition (e.g. a chronic disease like hypertension or diabetes) and are able to make lifestyle changes to improve their health
  5. Allow the residents to realise that that their health is in their own hands

Current Education Programmes

Our efforts are undergirded by strategies that aim to effect sustainable and enduring impacts. Programmes are designed and implemented with long term feasibility in mind, with the ultimate goal of the villagers being self-sufficient in terms of their health awareness and knowledge. Our educational effort comprises 5 main programmes:

  1. Health Screening Education
  2. Education at Primary Schools
  3. Teachers' Education
  4. Health Books at Primary Schools
  5. Village Health Programme

While running these efforts, we also actively asses the relevance of our programmes to our target groups by conducting surveys and focused group discussions with residents. The feedback given has proven to be invaluable in discovering areas of improvement for our programmes. We have been and will continue to regularly revise our syllabus as well as introduce new methods to achieve our education-centric goals.

1. Health Screening Education

Health Screening Education refers to education conducted during our village health screenings. It takes the form of a highly targeted and specific execution method.

The objectives of this programme are as follows:

  1. Educate villagers on practical steps to be taken to tackle chronic illnesses
  2. Educate villagers on lifestyle changes that are beneficial to health
  3. Educate villagers on identifiable symptoms that needs professional medical attention
Objectives 1 & 2 address chronic conditions
Objective 3 addresses acute conditions

In 2016, a booth set up at the health screening provides individualised education to each villager based on their health and social profiles. For instance, hypertensive villagers are educated on various lifestyle changes that they can adopt to better manage their blood pressure. We tailor our education programme to each individual, serving to maximise effectiveness of the education by ensuring that the information passed down is applicable to the participant. We aim to address chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus as well as acute conditions such as certain symptoms in infants that will require urgent professional medical attention. This is achieved through a combination of lifestyle changes, good practices, and basic knowledge of certain medical conditions.

2. Education at Primary Schools

At Sothea, we believe that the future of Cambodia rests in the hands of the young. By extension, importance is and should be given to their education. Our main target group for this education initiative are the Grade 1 to 6 students of the primary schools in the two villages we are serving, namely Kiri Selekeow Primary School in Anlong Svay and Phakdey Primary School in Dangkut Thnong.
During the 2016 Recce trip, our team discovered that a comprehensive health education curriculum was lacking in these two schools. Although one of the two schools had a social science textbook with some health education topics incorporated inside, the school principals and teachers have admitted that health education lessons are seldom conducted, if conducted at all.
As of late, this gap has been filled with Project Sothea’s efforts to provide school children with basic health education over the past few years. This includes proper hand hygiene; oral care, etc amongst others.
Efforts to implement a long term sustainable programme has led to our developing of a tier-based health curriculum. This is in the hopes of inculcating good health habits and lifestyle choices from young, so as to reduce the occurrence of preventable diseases among the children in the village. Such a curriculum should be progressive (taking into account the maturity of students in each age group), inclusive (non-discriminatory), and would serve to implement changes in attitudes towards health both in the school and at home.

The objectives of this programme are as follows:

  1. Inculcate a culture of health awareness within the school
  2. Inculcate good and practical health habits in the students
  3. Improve the students’ general understanding towards their body and health
Pilot lesson plans have been tested out during the 2016 December trip, with topics such as smoking, alcohol, hand and hair hygiene being taught using lesson plans intended to be incorporated into the health curriculum. This gave us a better understanding of not only the receptiveness of the students and teachers, but also the potential problems one may face when carrying out the lesson, and hence, the important considerations one should have when designing the lesson plans.
To achieve sustainability, the aim of this program is for the Cambodian teachers to ultimately take over the health curriculum. Understandably, there might be general inertia within the school’s teaching staff towards the adoption of such a system. Based on our survey in May 2017, the principal of one school expressed great interest in health education conducted by our team, and suggested topics for such lessons. We hope to be able to collaborate with teachers and the principal to come up with a targeted, progressive and inclusive curriculum.

3. Teachers' Education

This programme involves the teaching of Cambodian teachers by doctors from Singapore.

The objectives of this programme are as follows:

  1. Equip the Cambodian teachers with necessary skills to look after the health and safety of the students.
For the December 2016 trip, the doctor who conducted Teacher’s Education did it in the form of a presentation. The doctor presented on Spread and Prevention of Infectious Diseases and conducted a basic First Aid Workshop for the Cambodian teachers.

4. Health Books

The concept of Health Books was born out of a need to find avenues for our educational efforts to propagate impact during the periods when the team is in Singapore. Books similar to the form of textbooks will be designed to be age-appropriate, covering the content that we teach the students in our health curriculum.

The objectives of this programme are as follows:

  1. Provide an avenue for the students to revisit concepts and knowledge taught by the team throughout the year
  2. Generate an interest among students to learn more about health-related education
  3. Inculcate a sense of ownership for the students to take care of their own health

5. Village Health Programme

This is a new initiative following discoveries during the recce trip in May 2017. The programme involves working alongside villagers motivated to look after the health of the villagers in their own communities.

The objectives of this programme are as follows:

  1. To equip selected local villagers with skills and knowledge necessary to better look after the health of other community members by:
    • Being first responders to minor health related issues such as minor wounds (e.g. first aid skills)
    • Educating the community on useful health related knowledge (e.g. lifestyle changes to control high blood pressure)
  2. To inculcate within the communities a sense of importance of being responsible for one’s own health