I’m glad you asked friend! I just had a whole week of training answering that very question. CHE is a fancy acronym that stands for Community Heath Evangelism. This is the program that I will be using once I get to the jungle and start working with the Yanesha (this June!!).
The whole idea of CHE is to bring hope and dignity to communities that are in poverty. The core values include prioritizing the person, both their physical and spiritual needs, just like Jesus did. CHE seeks to find long term solutions using resources found within the community. So often westerners are focused on relief rather than development. Relief is great in the right context, such as a natural disaster, war, or when there is need for immediate aid. This is the time to give community resources from the outside, but this needs to be short term so as not to create dependency on others. Development is solving long term, chronic problems, using resources the community already has so it can be sustained by people in the community for long term.
The goal of CHE is to help communities see problems within their communities and help guide them to come up with solutions to these problems on their own. This way they can take ownership of the problems and the solutions. If we just came in and told them all the things they are doing wrong and how to fix them they might never understand why, and as soon as we leave they will not continue to resolve the problem.
The idea is to teach them that they can solve problems on their own, they are smart and capable enough, often they’ve never had anyone tell them this before. The reality is my team will not be with the Yanesha forever, so we need them to come up with solutions to problems they are having so that they can continue to do so when we leave
For example: water sanitation is a huge problem in communities in poverty all over the world. If we can go into a community and help the people see that the sicknesses they are experiencing can be linked to the river water they are drinking by teaching them about bacteria and parasites, then we can help them come up with solutions. The solutions depend on the resources they have but maybe its teaching them about boiling their water. They might know about this, however they may not know they have to boil it for at least 10 minutes to kill all of the bacteria. Another solution might be making a filter out of clay or sand. There are so many possibilities and often times the people in the community know what will work best.
There are so many parts of CHE that it would take a long time to write it all down, but this is the main idea of it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me and I’ll do my best to answer them! I am so excited to start using CHE with the Yanesha! Please pray for me as I finish out my last month and a half of School and make my move to the jungle!
Much love in Christ,