Building Community Capacity Through Health Education at the Grassroots

Joy Penman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Research


The University of South Australia at Whyalla has been involved in various community engagements, including health education sessions, which enable community members to build their self-management capacity and increase the human capital of the community. These educational sessions are conducted by staff and invited guest speakers, including this author who is an academic and also health director of a local church congregation. For the past six years, this author has been conducting health education sessions,on a weekly basis where possible, as part of the church program. The main aim was to prevent or manage chronic medical conditions among church members.In addition, health seminars and screens have been arranged regularly to keep members up to date with the latest developments in health, conduct health checks, and encourage members to observe a healthy lifestyle.This paper discusses the value of these health education sessions. Using a cross sectional study design, a 12-item Likert-type evaluation questionnaire was administered to gain feedback on church members'perceptions of the sessions and their impact, and what they considered to be the best aspects and areas for improvement. Of the 35 regular church attendees, 14 completed the questionnaire, representing a 40% response rate. The encouraging results showed that, as a consequence of hearing the health messages, the majority of the participants felt positive about maintaining good health and were practising good health habits.The best things about the sessions were the 'clear and concise', 'relevant', varied and detailed information provided; however, the participants wanted more information on particular topics such as junk food and caffeine, and a few more pictures, diagrams and DVDs to go with the presentations. More important, however, is their gaining in self-efficacy, empowerment and capacity to manage their own health.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunity Work
Subtitle of host publicationTheories, Experiences and Challenges
EditorsKalpana Goel, Venkat Pulla, Abraham P. Francis
Place of PublicationIndia
PublisherNiruta Publications
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • health education
  • health promotion
  • capacity building
  • faith community

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