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Project SWAN

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Taking assets map approach has a potential to overcome diversity and the inclusiveness challenges among resource limited vulnerable population. However, it does not mean to say needs map approach is not necessary. Both are important, but the asset model should be more emphasized to take an immediate action for health promotion. Here, I’d like to show one case in Vietnam. It is called project SWAN or Save Water And Nutrition project. Vietnam is now a lower middle-income country also with good health indicators. However, when we started our project in 2005, Vietnamese people, particularly living in rural areas, was suffering from poor water quality and diarrhea was still common in these rural settings.
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So to overcome this problem, we are identified children and women as assets in our target communities. Children showed their talent in drawing attractive paintings about safe water and nutrition. Women, particularly mothers, joined the awareness workshop and learned the importance of laboratory tests to check the safety of water by demonstration. One of the most unexpected asset was a poem club, where older people get together once a month and make poems. In the beginning, when we heard the existence of this poem club, we have no idea about how they can be assets for improving the project. How they can improve water quality and nutrition status; we were puzzled.
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However, after one year, they created more than 50 poems about safe water and nutrition and even put songs and sang for karaoke. It was very effective to raise the awareness of safe water and the nutrition in the community. It was surprising. Then one of the outcome of this project SWAN was the improved awareness of mothers about water quality. Before the intervention, most mothers answered that outlooks of water is the most important to know the safety of the water. But two years later, after the intervention, nearly 50% answered that the laboratory test is a key to know the water quality. This was a big change.
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So from this experience, we learned their assets map approach is very effective to raise the awareness of the vulnerable population and children, women, older people, they are all assets.

Dr. Jimba will explain Project SWAN, Safe Water, and Nutrition Project in Vietnam. He will introduce this intervention method, progress, and results.

As this case study was explained in detail last week, Dr. Jimba only reviewed the project briefly.

We would like you to think about the two questions below:

  • Are there instances where the deficit model approach failed and is supplemented by the assets model?
  • What would have happened if SWAN did not adapt the assets model?

By answering them, you will be able to see the impact of the assets model on SWAN’s success. If you would like to share your thoughts please leave a comment in the comments section.

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Capacity Building: Core Competencies for Health Promotion

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