The Implementation of the Child-To- Child (C-T-C) Approach to Health Education in Kenya: A Case Study of Kaveta Primary School, Kitui District
This study examined the extent to which C-T-C (Child-to-Child) pedagogical approach was being applied to teaching and learning of health education at Kaveta primary School of Kitui District. The study sought to establish levels of awareness and implementation of C-T-C approach among pupils, teachers and the community members of Kaveta primary school. It also sought to establish the C-T-C activities that were being implemented, benefits to the school and the community, challenges encountered in implementation of the activities and how the challenges could be addressed. C-T-C approach underscores the importance of children in transmitting health messages to their peers and the community to create a healthy society. The study adopted the design of a case study and was qualitative in nature. Data was collected in Kaveta Primary School, in Kitui District of Kenya. This school was among the pioneers in the district where C-T-C activities were introduced. Subsequently, it acted as a nucleus from where the activities were spread to other schools in the district. This meant that teachers in the school, and the surrounding community, had been exposed to the C-T-C activities for a long time. Ideally, therefore, they were thought to be better placed to offer in-depth responses that related to the concerns of the study. Sampling was done purposively. The sample for the study included 61 pupils of the case study school (the whole standard seven class), 15 siblings and peers, 10 teachers, 10 parents, 3 C-T-C officials, 5 health education officials, and 3 education officers. In total 107 informants were sampled and provided information for the study. Open ended interviews, focuse group discussions (FGDs), free listings, and observations were used for collecting data. Qualitative procedures for data analysis and presentation were used to present the study's findings. The study found out that some pupils, teachers and members of Kavera primary school community were aware of C-T-C as an approach to teaching health education, The level of awareness, was however not uniform. At the school level, only a few pupils (mostly girls), and volunteer teachers actively participated in C-T-C activities. These were the pupils and teachers who belonged to the C-T -C club. Awareness in the community was mostly among children (mostly girls) and their mothers. What this meant was that awareness of C-T-C approach was not total, as was expected at the inception of the project. In terms of implementation, the study found out that the pupils, teachers and parents were involved in various health promoting activities at the school and the community level. These activities seemed to have a positive impact 011 the personal hygiene of individual pupils, their peers and parents, and in the cleanliness of their schools compound and homes. One important impact of the C-T-C activities was that through school gardening, the level of nutrition and food sufficiency in the school had improved. Overall, the study found out that the C-T -C approach had to an extent changed health practices, and health seeking behaviour among the pupils and their parents. The study, however, established that the successful implementation of C-T -C pedagogical approach to teaching and learning health education was faced with certain challenges. These included the constant confusion within the school of C-T-C activities with female gender roles; the nature of health education in the primary school curriculum which health education is not a subject of its own but integrated in other subjects; lack of finances to support C-T-C activities; Lack of adequate teaching and learning materials; lack of follow-up and poor coordination of the C-T-C programmes by the various ministries and C-T-C club leaders. Given the crucial symbiotic link that exists between health and schooling issues, the study recommends the following: firstly, full integration of health education into all examinable subjects. Alternatively, the Ministry of Education should explore possibilities of introducing a separate subject to cater for the teaching of health education. The study also recommends that C-T-C activities be integrated and financed through a centralized' system, as is the case with other curriculum activities. Finally the study recommends the introduction of locally relevant materials, the training of teachers in C- T-C approach, and that health education learning and teaching should be made compulsory for all pupils.