Saturday, November 15, 2008


Community leaders and developing health standards

Two millenniums ago the Buddha stated these words Arogya Parama Labha, the greatest treasure to us human beings is our own health. These three words described about how valuable is human health to human life back then. Two thousand years have passed but the reality still remains the same. See the world today, look how far we have fallen down as humans, fear of diseases, plagues, chemicals, global warming.

There are several reasons for dealing with these types of problems.

-Ignorance of good health habits

-Drug, smoking and alcohol addiction

-Environmental pollution


-Ignorance of maintaining your personal hygiene

-Corrupting child minds with violence

These facts tell us that the general public is unaware of their health and public health. Public health came as a global issue in 1940's. In 1948 in the month of April, Geneva, Switzerland world leaders all around the world started United Nations; World Health Organization (WHO). The main objective of WHO is to prevent diseases rather than treating diseases and promotion of healthy behaviours among public.

So First of all let's discuss about public health WHO defines the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organised efforts and informed choices of society, organisations, public and private, communities and individuals.

Although the public health issue was new to the Western leaders of 20th century, in the East, good health habits have been followed by our communities thousands year ago. Sri Lankan kings like Dutugamunu, Buddhadhasa and Pandukabaya focused on public health. These kings worked for creating a better future for their countrymen, they built hospitals and all sorts of infrastructure for a healthy community.

But as the centuries went by, humans forgot about the link between nature and humans, the greed for wealth and power blinded them from reality, they destroyed nature in the name of development, but as man climbed to the top of the technological evolution, we humans now face series consequences of our misdeeds in past we have put ourselves in danger and not only us, but other living things and our planet. Now humans have realised the mistakes and some organisations have come forward to rectify the past misdeeds. Government and NGOs have started projects on public health and environmental protection, but these groups are well funded and its members are paid for their work.

There are young people who are aged between aged 15-30 voluntarily steps forward for their community and uplift their community health standards.

-Keeping the surrounding environment clean

-Organising shramadhana campaigns

-Educating community about keeping their environment clean

-Young doctors who treat people who is suffering from poverty free of charge

-Health Campaigns

-Awareness Programmes

They are self less and kind hearted people who have much broader perspective about the world; these are real leaders who set an example to the world but hidden by the society silently moving along as an average person.

These leaders must be encouraged and brought forward to the public and set an example, perhaps an inspiration to other young leaders who are trying to immerse from the average society. So the Youth Empowerment Division of the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) has come forward to organise a national awards ceremony named as The Young Community Leaders (YCL) Awards. The objective of this awards ceremony is to recognise and reward the youth community leaders of the country who have rendered commendable service in the community development sphere. Through this award ceremony BCIS is expecting few outcomes such as.

-Promoting and encouraging the youth

-Finding solutions to the issues affecting the youth community

-Creating a platform for recognition of the youth at the national, policy planning level, providing a catalyst for further promotion of the youth activism in Sri Lanka.

-Generating a national wide interest in the initiatives/efforts by the youth in community development work.

-Compiling an islandwide statistical database of community development projects undertaken by youth, their success failures and obstacles.

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