Training community health advocates

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Days To Go
Raised of $1,265 Needed
One Year Impact Report

In the past year, we’ve made incredible progress with strengthening our Health Advocates program and selecting, training and working with Community Health Advocates in Aplaya.

Impact For Girls & Women

We trained eight Community Health Advocates in Aplaya in the last year. Each of our CHAs is responsible for roughly 25 women in their community area. Each CHA checks in with these women and provides them with contraceptive refills or prenatal vitamins if they’re pregnant, and generally is a liaison to us if there are any problems.

Estimated girls & women affected 212

Broader Impact

Our eight Community Health Advocates directly impact 204 women and girls, who in turn have their own families that are impacted by their healthier lives. We multiplied 212 women and girls (204 clients plus the eight CHAs) with an average family size of five to get to this number.

Estimated community members affected 1,060


Steps toward a healthier Aplaya

It’s been one year since your support helped us raise the funds in order to train Community Health Advocates (CHAs) for our site called Aplaya. In the past year, we’ve made incredible progress with strengthening our Health Advocates program and selecting, training and working with Community Health Advocates in Aplaya. At the close of the year, we have 8 dedicated, bright and passionate women who are knowledgeable about reproductive health and who are committed to providing their assistance and support to their friends and neighbors in Aplaya. These women provide invaluable help to Roots of Health. They keep track of their neighbors’ contraceptive refill schedules, and distribute pill packs when refills are needed and alert our clinical team to any women who need to have their injectable contraceptive refill. The CHAs are also incredibly helpful with our healthy pregnancy program. They distribute prenatal vitamins to our clients in Aplaya every month, and they alert our clinical team of early signs of labor, so that our midwife and nurses can be on hand to assist with the birthing process. Our CHAs are our eyes and ears in the communities and they also let us know when there are any issues or problems with which we can help. Not only are our CHAs extremely responsible and beneficial to the organization, but each of them has benefited from our training and each have emerged in their own ways and styles as leaders and trusted friends in their community.

Up close
Ina, one of our CHAs, spoke at a ROH event last June. She said she’d always wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives, but felt resigned to not achieving this because she didn’t go to highschool and was poor. She was thrilled when we selected her for our program and her newfound skills boosted her self-esteem and motivated her to excel. Now people come to her for help, and she can! She’s achieved her dream of helping others and is grateful. She promised not to let us down.

Risks and challenges
When we began our program, we had positive responses from our CHAs, but we often had problems with the data they were collecting in that entries were often unclear or contradicted other information they’d provided. We realized that we could do a lot to simplify and clarify the checklists, so we consulted with the CHAs and reworked the forms. Now the checklists are so much easier for them to handle, and they are happier and feel more organized. The process of revamping the lists made us realize that the CHAs could also help with another program we implement – Vertical Gardens. So checklists now include asking clients whether they need seeds or any maintenance work on their gardens. This has helped streamline the Vertical Garden program.

What we’ve learnt
The most important lesson we learned in the last year is the value of including our CHAs in the creation of tools for monitoring and evaluation. Previously, our CHA checklist was presented in a somewhat complicated way. As a result, our CHAs were confused by what information they needed to provide, and the checklists weren’t as useful as they should have been. Once we strengthened our program and instituted more communication and check-ins with our CHAs, we realized that they wanted the forms to look a different way. We worked with them to create a new, simpler form, and the form has been so much more effective since. We should have included our CHAs views from the beginning but are glad that we instituted the changes early on.

Next steps
Our Community Health Advocate program is one of the most important programs we have in place in order to have sustained improvements in health in our communities. We will definitely continue this program. Please watch our organization page on Catapult as we’ll have new projects up soon!

We projected spending $1,265 on this project.

Line Items

Projected budget

Amount spent so far




Further reading

90 Day Impact Report

Steps toward a healthier Aplaya

posted Jan 8, 2014 by Isabel Garcia

After our first round of health education classes for women in the village of Aplaya, we selected three women to be trained as Community Health Advocates. We selected the candidates based on how the women performed in our classes, how interested they seemed in the material, and how they are regarded within the community.

The Community Health Advocates we selected for our first round of training are bright, enthusiastic, and are all community leaders. After explaining the expectations and commitment we wanted from them, we gave them time to decide whether they were up to the challenge of undergoing training and serving their fellow community members. We were delighted when they all said, “Yes!”

During our weeklong Community Health Advocate training, we employed daily assessments to ensure each candidate fully understood the material presented that day. Candidates were also given situational scenarios to show how they would respond to a neighbor in need, or how they would answer a sensitive question. All our Aplaya candidates performed fantastically during their training and passed with flying colors.

Now that they are trained, the Community Health Advocates will work within their community to

  • Distribute prenatal vitamins,
  • Alert the Roots of Health clinical team about contraceptive needs and any signs of labor among our pregnant clients, and
  • Help handle health emergencies.

Our staff will check in with the Community Health Advocates monthly and will review their progress in doing specific activities and tasks. In these ways, we ensure that we’re working towards our ultimate goal of empowering women to support and empower their own neighbors and fellow community members.

Despite having just been recently trained, our Community Health Advocates are already having a positive impact on their community.

  • Leni, for example, found a woman within the community who had been unable to attend Roots of Health classes and hadn’t used any of our clinical services. Leni explained to the woman that she could schedule a check up with one of our nurses and get free contraceptives even if she couldn’t attend our classes. The woman was so relieved as she had been hesitant to approach us because she thought she had to attend the sessions to get our services. Thanks to Leni’s intervention as a Community Health Advocate, this woman is now enjoying our free services and is now allocating the money she used to spend on pills toward more food for her family.
  • Another Community Health Advocate, Emelita, has helped empower a neighbor, Rosa.* Rosa used to gather shells and sell them to a supplier who would only pay her in canned goods and who wasn’t giving her a fair amount. Because of our training, Emelita knew that Rosa had the right to be paid a fair wage in cash, and was brave enough to advocate for her friend. Emelita helped Rosa to find a new shell supplier willing to provide fair pay. Rosa is so much happier now and has money to buy the things she and her family need. She credits her empowerment and better situation to Emelita and Roots of Health. We look forward to the next two training sessions for the women of Aplaya.

*name changed

Learning about how each Community Health Advocate is regarded by the community is a challenge. We take care to learn whether our candidates are respected because if others don’t like and respect her, the Community Health Advocate will not be able to serve well and be effective.

Sometimes a Community Health Advocate may be involved in a problem of her own that distracts her for some time. But if our staff notices that a particular Community Health Advocate is not interacting with the community, staff investigate what the difficulty is, and if it is within our scope of knowledge and ability, help deal with it.

For our first quarter of work, we’ve spent:

Line Items First Quarter Total

Trainers fee


Monthly incentives




















  • Health
  • Leadership
  • Maternal health

Help train Community Health Advocates to serve as trusted leaders and sources of information in their communities.

Why we care: Women often lack access to resources regarding their reproductive health and human rights.

How we are solving this: By training women in basic reproductive and general health knowledge, and how to recognize warning signs of abuse, depression or potentially serious and life-threatening illnesses such as severe diarrhea among children.

Maria doesn't just gossip with her neighbors anymore. If there is a woman in her community with a problem, she will help. If someone needs a pregnancy test or contraceptives, Maria is always there.

Why does she have this passion?

Maria had an unplanned pregnancy at the age of 17. But after attending Roots of Health’s reproductive health and human rights sessions in her community she felt empowered to not only find a job and improve her and her family’s health but also the health of the entire community. Now a Community Health Advocate, she has transformed into a responsible and independent woman, a trusted leader and source of information in her community.  

To keep our community health education and services sustainable, we select Community Health Advocates, just like Maria. The women are provided an intensive five day training on basic reproductive and general health knowledge, and how to recognize warning signs of abuse, depression or potentially serious and life-threatening illnesses such as severe diarrhea among children.

The Community Health Advocates support their community with information and serve as liaisons with the Roots of Health staff through monthly meetings to relay their health needs, and obtain referrals to other medical services when needed. They also assist Roots of Health staff in conducting our workshop sessions in the community and dispensing pregnancy tests, contraceptives and prenatal vitamins to women who need them when our nurses and midwife are not available. We stay connected with our community sites through the Community Health Advocates and their empowerment and development into community leaders often inspires others.

We have just started programming in the community of Aplaya in Tagburos Village, and once we complete our first round of workshop sessions, we will be recruiting and training our first batch of Community Health Advocates.

Please support this project, which not only helps empower women, but also turns women into tools to support and empower their own neighbors and fellow community members.

Len Trinidad
(Cambridge, MA US)
has donated $75.00
(Dublin, California US)
has donated $100.00
(Washington, DC US)
has donated $300.00
I give for my daughter.
Juanita Wright Potter
(Chicago, IL US)
has donated $200.00
(Brooklyn, New York US)
has donated $50.00
(Kelowna, BC BC CA)
has donated $100.00
(Morgantown, WV US)
has donated $100.00
(Norton, MA US)
has donated $50.00
(Morgantown, WV US)
has donated $50.00
I give to share the love.
(State College, PA US)
has donated $25.00
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