United For Health (UFH) is a campaign organized by Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) that will take place in different PCV sites around Thailand with the goal of increasing and sustaining healthy lifestyles among youth and adolescent girls. This grant will pay for the materials necessary to facilitate this health camp and the transportation costs of the 3 project leaders and one PCV near each selected site (7 total). This idea was founded by volunteers in group 127 three years ago. It started in a different community, United For Health, and was a 2 day physical & mental health-focused camp in PCV sites in Northeastern Thailand. Since then, the camp has shown incredible promise and results which has encouraged us to facilitate this camp in each region of Thailand. We are hoping to hold at least one United for Health camp per region (Northern, Northeastern, Southern, Central, Eastern and Western).
The project is focused on keeping the local communities involved throughout the planning and facilitating process. The activities at each site are tailored to the individual community. Some communities may prefer aerobics over biking or murals over a sports day, and the project is taking these details into consideration. Communities are also encouraged to bring their own specialist and/or local citizens to assist with teaching and helping to run the event. In the past, we have had doctors from local health centers, local police, or health teachers from schools run activities. Our ultimate goal by encouraging students and influential adults to take a more active interest in their health and wellbeing, is the propagation of knowledge and inspiration throughout the entire community.
In addition to including local community members into the program, we plan on leaving many of the resources and tools for the communities to reuse when the project finishes. All of the project’s lesson plans and materials will be translated into Thai and the communities will be able to model the same activities with different populations in the area. Also, the site PCV will remain at the site for at least an additional 5 months. Therefore the site PCV will be able to carry on some of the education and activities with help from the local government and schools.
Additionally, if the project’s model is successful, the group hopes the project with be continued by the next group of PCVs - this could take place in any region of Thailand. The project plans to invite one PCV from Group 130 to join at each camp. This will provide the current group with the opportunity to pass the project onto incoming volunteers. The project group’s hope is to create a solid curriculum and model to be used by future PCVs in Thailand to educate youth about a holistic approach to health.