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Originally produced for UNICEF

The Pikinini Skel Haus

“The baby weighing house”

One of the first acts of communities after completing the “colour my house” process, is the construction of the pikinini skel haus or “child-weighing house.” It is a simple structure made of bush materials where children brought for weighing, where the coloured houses are displayed and immunizations given. It is a place for providing basic health and nutrition services, and will become the base for a pikinini play skul, as in Atemble where swings and a seesaw from locally made materials have already been installed.

As a Meri-man skoolim haus (“Woman-Man Schooling House) it is also a place for village-based adult-education, where people can gather to “talk-talk” about helping their families. The construction of the pikinini skel haus is one of the first tangible signs of commitment by the community that they are going to work together to improve the health of their families. The decision to put up the structure comes out of the discussion of where parents will wait with their children when it is time for weighing, with other functions added later. To date 13 wards engaged in the process have erected pikinini skel houses. Several other communities not yet included have also put up the structures and are demanding from district authorities that they be covered by the Triple A process soon.

In Atemble, all the coloured houses of the village are pinned on the wall of the pikinini skel haus. Together, they present a portrait of the health and well-being of children throughout the community. As communities repeat the “colour my house” process, there is a visible change not only in the “colour” of their individual homes, but also in the “colour” of the village. The revised houses are pasted over the previous one, giving the families and villages an instant record of their achievements.