Authored by Brad Czerniak

Model households are a key aspect of the Health of People and Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB), an integrated Population, Health_and Environment (PHE) project with sites in Kenya and Uganda. Model households are trained in multiple project activities to illustrate behaviors that allow families to thrive without taking a toll on their environment and natural resources. Model households exhibit positive behaviors, including practicing sustainable agriculture and resource planning, adopting alternative livelihoods, prioritizing reproductive health and family planning and investing in clean water for drinking, cooking and washing. The model households' intervention exemplifies the integration of population, health and the environment by tangibly demonstrating the reinforcing behaviors that help families to develop in healthy and environmentally sustainable ways. In each HoPE-LVB project site, model households are selected and supported to meet standards that reflect healthy environments and families. The model households serve as role models and teachers of other families in the project communities. Model households receive the following inputs from the HoPE-LVB project:

  • Two-day PHE orientation/training for all members of the model household
  • Training in sustainable agriculture, agro forestry, biodiversity conservation, land use planning and watershed management and improved breed goats management
  • Drought-resistant Cassava cuttings and improved cassava varieties Banana cuttings Improved varieties of maize & bean seeds (quick maturing & high yielding)
  • Tree seedlings Goat Breeding (Goats were given to some of the model households meeting specific selection criteria.)
  • Energy saving stove (Part of the model household criteria is that they have an energy saving stove. Some model households were trained to construct them and others participated in the initial round of construction of stoves. These households did not have to pay for the construction of the stoves, but did supply funds for materials. Model households acquiring the stoves later in the project have to pay those in the community who were trained to construct them.)

In order to participate in the project, households must meet at least 75% of the following criteria:

  • Household unit should be located in the HoPE-LVB project area
  • Eligible households should be willing to promote the following: healthy practices for birth preparedness, accurate information about family planning, adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, etc.
  • Household farm should have any of the following enterprises: agro forestry tree and fruit species, annual and perennial food and cash crops, livestock (goats, cattle, chickens or pigs)
  • Household practices minimum environmental sanitation including a toilet (latrine) and at least one of the following: shower area, drying rack, hand washing facility, kitchen, separate shelters for animals, etc.
  • Commitment to share knowledge/innovations with other households
  • Should be willing to receive visitors and be willing to learn and share knowledge with visitors Should be willing to participate in the trainings supported by HoPE-LVB