Want a holiday with a difference? - Try a holiday that MAKES a difference!
promotes health related behavioural change thru education, interaction & awareness,
research project funded by 'eco-social' tourism - tourists book working holidays to participate in the research bringing diverse expertise to local health problems.
As part of the holiday package they get an introduction to scientific research: research design, data collection & basic analysis as well as participate in health workshops, see the sights & meet the locals. All participants in the research program receive a certificate of participation -- a great addition for a cv!
I wrote a 3 page explanation but thought id best not up-load that! The concept revolves around having as much local input regarding local health issues as possible, providing people with the information necessary to make better health choices, & engaging with people to effect behavioural change. It uses word of mouth to transmit health messages. Initial research grant is used to start the study. The research hypothesis might be do health workshops conducted in low-income communities positively impact on health behaviours in those communities?. The study design involves tracking of a highly identifiable (brand?) product that is used to illustrate a specific behaviour that will improve health (hygiene, nutrition) & always uses a specific health message in its promotion. Spread of the health message is tracked through the community using market awareness of the brand. Effectiveness of health workshops is then assessed by measuring health outcomes over time. The workshop & specific health messages need careful attention as does the work-play balance provided for the eco-social tourists
Get a certificate of participation!
visit local communities
How do you envision this idea making money?
Local community representative/vendor generates some income from sale of the selected products.
A local community group must commit to participation for the duration of the study.
Community selects 2 community representative/vendors (CR) (one must be able to travel, other stays in local community altho these roles can be rotated)and the product types the want included in the range sold by these vendors. The CRs in the local communities stay in touch with the study participants in the capital city by phone (mobile, email, computer depending on what is available).
Products are selected from a range of necessary household items with attention paid to how they might demonstrate a particular health behaviour. eg. quinoa/healthy eating, soap/preventing spread of infection. Locally produced products are favoured. This product range is then 'branded' with the logo & health message. (The product costs $xx from bulk supplier and $xx+a+b+c from the community supplier, where a=rebranding expenses & distribution, b=vendor income, c=contribution to fund utilised to realise the solutions to local health problems identified at the local community health workshops - nice incentive to join in the local workshop!) Local community purchase their essential household items from the range of branded products.
International eco-social tourists bring in outside income which is then spent locally.
Double room, Sydney, 2 weeks................approx $2,800 + meals, travel, entertainment
4 double bedroom house, Manizales, 2 weeks ..approx $2,800 + meals, travel, entertainment
House in Manizales is occupied by 3 Community Representatives (CR) & 3 Participating Students (PS) (participating students can be rotated through over the duration of the study to cover a full class load) on a shared room basis. 4th bedroom is for the two social tourists (ST). The rented accommodation is the locale for the introduction to the health science research & initial workshops as well as the preparation site for the workshops to be taken to the selected communities. Inclusive social activities encourage interaction between all participants - the shopping, cooking & cleaning are done as shared activities and are used as an adjunct to a learning exchange. (this may be as simple as the ST learning the name of vegetables in the local language!) Each member of this household contributes to the food, power & facilities budget of the household according to their normal average expenditure - increases awareness of budget constraints and the impact of small financial improvements.
3 days in the city are spent travelling to one of the selected communities, presenting a workshop there & returning with a spot of sightseeing along the way taking in the local beauty spots & places of interest. (Camper-van hire, sleep 3-4, solar shower & solar generated electric cooking, approx. $175 per day plus fuel. This is for rental in Aus. no comparison found for Caldas. Both this cost & that of accommodation are taken from browsing prices on the net as approximate average costs purely to demonstrate the concept) This is repeated for each of the 3 selected communities with a day of review taking place between each trip to the local communities. A final farewell & certificate presentation party is held for the ST - gift exchange is encouraged to be health related :-)
The STs are likely to temporarily bring extra resources to the study for the duration of their stay (e.g. camera, laptop) and may choose to off-set their travel carbon emissions by planting some fruit trees in the communities they visit.
Rinse & repeat for the duration of the study.
As the branded products are linked to specific behaviours increased sales can be attributed to the increase in that behaviour being practiced in the local community. This provides a means to quantify the behavioural change generated by given health messages leading to an effective measure of evaluating the the health message delivery method against health outcomes -> has this message resulted in behavioural change & positively impacted on health outcomes?
potential problems identified: at least 1 participant in each 'house-hold' group needs to be bi-lingual to facilitate communication. Getting local community groups to commit for the length of the study
How does this idea create social impact, particularly around improving health?
Improves knowledge of health at every level, invites people to participate in improving not only their own but everyone's health. Gathers health related data, provides health information delivery system, increases personal interest of the participants in finding solutions to local health problems
How does this idea add social value at every step of the process?
supervising professor receives information regarding the health concerns of local communities & the data necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of health information delivery & possibly ancient remedies to common ailments that can open up new avenues for medical research or commercialisation
health science students get field experience & course accreditation, the chance to interact with overseas visitors & get new perspectives
International eco-social tourists get a unique holiday experience, new friends, a certificate of participation acknowledging their involvement in the study, the chance to make a difference to people they get to know
Local community gets access to health information relevant to them, new lines of communication with those who have medical knowledge, the chance to contribute to a community health database of local knowledge, the potential to identify a local produce that could be commercialised, tourist income & access to a fund which can help develop local solutions to local problems
What are the short term steps we could take to implement this idea tomorrow?
find supervising professor & initial research grant, determine logo & engage selected local communities to select initial products, place advertisments inviting eco-social tourists