New SHE network management :: High level WHO conference :: New UNESCO strategy on education for health and well-being
SHE newsletter # 1
This is the first SHE newsletter sent from our host organisation: University College South Denmark (UCS). In this newsletter we outline what we intend to do in 2017 and some highlights on school health promotion in Europe during 2016. This and more in this newsletter.

Update on the organisational situation

In 2015 the former host organization of the SHE network CBO was bankrupt which left the network without a host organisation for about a year and a half. During those 18 months several attempts were made to secure a new host organisation and finally in the end of 2016 University College South Denmark was approved as the new SHE host organisation. We aim to rejuvenate the SHE network in 2017 to secure a strong and active network moving forward.

New management

The SHE network has two new managers: Anette Schulz and Jesper von Seelen. Anette is a senior consultant at UCS where Jesper is senior lecture and coordinator of a research program on health promotion and learning. You can read more about Anette and Jesper here:

We would like to thank Goof Buijs for his tireless work as the SHE network manager for nine years. You have personified the network for many years and kept the network alive for the past couple of years when it was without a host organisation. You have pushed the health promoting school agenda forward both at a political and a practical level and you have put the SHE network in the centre of this work. Especially the WHO draft declaration that was presented in Paris in December 2016 shows the results of your work. We are glad to see that you are still a part of the organisation and look forward to doing more work on HPS with you in the future.

What is in store for 2017?

The Planning Committee is meeting in Copenhagen on February 2nd and 3rd. Here we will plan the activities of 2017 and discuss the future for the SHE network. Some of the activities that will be discussed there and that you will hear more about later are:
  • A summer school on HPS in august of 2017
  • The SHE assembly meeting in the fall of 2017
  • The development of an e-learning tool 
  • Online school twinning
  • Online school health promotion glossary
  • Update regional networks
  • Capacity building workshops
  • Consultancy visits
You can stay informed using the SHE website that we are working hard to get back into shape.

High level conference WHO Paris 7-8 December 2016

In December 2016 the WHO High Level Conference: ‘Working together for better health and wellbeing of children and young people’ took place. The conference calls for intersectional and interagency working together, and demonstrated this by an active involvement from the health sector but also the education and the social sector were well represented. 43 countries from the European region were represented, including ministers of health and representatives from other ministries and NGO’s. The draft declaration: ‘Partnerships for the health and wellbeing of our young and future generation’ is highly relevant for school health promotion and for the future of the SHE network. The four key outcomes are 1) to act together for the health and wellbeing of our young and future generations, 2) to create universal social protection floors for better health and wellbeing, 3) schools and preschools promoting health and well-being and 4) good governance. It specifically states to make every school in the European region a setting to promote health and wellbeing. Also the SHE network should be expanded and strengthened. More information on the WHO website

Collaboration SHE network and ESN network

In 2016 the Education and Solidarity Network (ESN) and the School for health in Europe Network (SHE) explored further possibilities for collaboration. This included a joint symposium in May 2016 at the 22nd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion in Curitiba, Brazil on ‘Health and Learning go hand in hand: The European perspective’. The two networks and three European initiatives were presented on how a whole school approach is taking shape: from Scotland, the Netherlands and France. In September 2016 both networks in partnership with the French healthcare mutual MGEN organised a collaborative seminar on the theme of improving education through health and well-being at school. Participants came from very different horizons from the education and health promotion world: education unions, researchers, international organisations, non-profit healthcare. They had the opportunity to get to know each other, identify complementary areas and explore possible collaborations between the ESN network and the SHE network. During the seminar, eight project ideas were designed, including: 10 days of activism to promote health at school, a project incubator to spot and boost innovative health promotion projects, and a joint ESN/SHE summer school.

School health promotion events in the EECA countries in 2016

In August 2016 WHO EURO organised the ‘intercountry Workshop on School Health
in the Prevention of No communicable Diseases (NCDs)’. Prevention of NCDs is an important topic for schools. For many adolescents and school age children school health services (SHS) are the first and the most accessible point of contact with health services. Schools offer many opportunities for children and young people to develop a positive outlook on life and a healthy lifestyle and can contribute to improving the health and well-being of children and young people. The meeting was attended by national coordinators of child and adolescent health programmes of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 23-25 August 2016. The SHE school manual was presented and plans were outlined for future development of national HPS programmes. A full report is available here.
In November 2016 an international conference was organised in Moscow for the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia on promoting healthy lifestyles for school-aged children, organised by the Russian Scientific Centre of Children’s Health. This scientific meeting was attended by over 300 participants, and the work of WHO EURO and the SHE network was presented. In addition to the conference a two-day workshop was held for the SHE national coordinators of the EECA countries, led by Vladislav Kuchma, head of the SHE branch office in Moscow. Plans were presented and discussed on how to strengthen and upscale the HPS programmes in the EECA countries.
In 2016 WHO EURO together with the WHO country office Kazakhstan initiated a pilot project on strengthening school health promotion and school health services in Kazakhstan 2016-2017. In two provinces 4 rural and urban pilot schools are introduced in a whole school approach to health and use the Russian version of the SHE school manual as well as the HEPS school level indicators to develop their school policy and activity plan for 2016-2017. Based on the outcomes of the pilot project a national strategy plan will be developed on further strengthening the national HPS programme and School Health Services.

New publication in water, sanitation and hygiene in schools: WASH

Access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools is still a dream for a high number of schoolchildren in the European region. In the Caucasus and central Asia 30% of schools do not provide adequate toilets and 37% do not have access to adequate water supplies. In Western European countries toilet avoidance is common, which is demonstrated by reports from France, Sweden and the UK, up to 46% of pupils in Scotland.  This is because lack of privacy, lack of supervision, bullying, harassment and the obligation to ask for permission to use toilets. The new WHO document: ‘Priotizing education, health and well-being' describes the benefits and underlying issues and presents a protocol on water and health in schools. The document is available in English and Russian.

New UNESCO strategy on education for health and well-being

The UNESCO document 'Education for health and well-being: contributing to the sustainable development goals' describes UNESCO’s commitment to ensuring all young people have access to comprehensive sexuality education, healthy learning environments, and to the information needed to protect themselves from HIV and develop healthy relationships. It also recognises that a more comprehensive approach to school health, and coordination across sectors, is needed. The UNESCO strategy is aligned with, and will contribute to, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those relating to education, health and well-being, and gender equality.
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