Principles of planning in health education
In this section you will learn about the principles you should apply when planning any activity in the community. Planning is not haphazard — that means there is a principle, or a rule, which you should take into account when developing your health education plans. You should always consider the principles shown in Box 12.2 when you plan a piece of work.
Box 12.2 Six principles of planning in health education
- It is important that plans are made with the needs and context of the community in mind. You should try to understand what is currently happening in the community you work in.
- Consider the basic needs and interests of the community. If you do not consider the local needs and interests, your plans will not be effective.
- Plan with the people involved in the implementation of an activity. If you include people they will be more likely to participate, and the plan will be more likely to succeed.
- Identify and use all relevant community resources.
- Planning should be flexible, not rigid. You can modify your plans when necessary. For example, you would have to change your priorities if a new problem, needing an urgent response, arose.
- The planned activity should be achievable, and take into consideration the financial, personnel, and time constraints on the resources you have available. You should not plan unachievable activities.
Meserete is a Health Extension Practitioner. Some time ago she developed a health education programme for her community. At the beginning, she identified some important health problems that were occurring in her community. Local people were recruited to identify their own health problems, and to look for a solution appropriate to their setting. Meserete also identified local resources that would be helpful for her health education activities. Finally, she developed a plan to meet the needs of the community and started to implement it. However, she faced a shortage of resources to carry out all of the items in her plan, so she prioritised the items and modified her plan according to the resources that were available. Look at Box 12.2 above, and work out which principles of planning you think Meserete used.
Meserete has worked well, and used all the principles of planning. She understood local problems [principle 1], and considered the interests of the community . Local people participated in the programme at all stages . She also identified local resources for her health education programme , and made sure that her plan was flexible . Meserete also modified her plan, and she thought very carefully about what was achievable .