Health is determined by many factors, including income, environmental conditions - such as access to adequate sanitation and safe water supplies - individual behavior, and health services. More than half of the world's population lives in villages and rural areas, and most of those without access to safe water sources or basic sanitation are rural dwellers.
Enabling rural populations to protect and improve their health is a major challenge worldwide. In response to this, an informal healthy villages movement has evolved. A healthy villages project promotes local actions by community members, mobilizing human and financial resources to build healthy environments and promote healthy behaviors.
This guide is intended to provide community leaders with information to assist them in implementing and sustaining a healthy villages project. It covers topics such as water and sanitation, drainage, waste management, housing quality, domestic and community hygiene, and provision of health services, providing extensive source materials for adaptation to local needs and conditions.