Working for a sustainably healthy environment, by Kyösti Voima.

Photo: Kyösti Voima

Community and Environment 4 (COHSE4)

Coordinator Turku University of Applied Sciences
Contact details

Sanna Merisalo, sanna.merisalo(at)
Kyösti Voima, kyosti.voima(at)

Budget €141 610
Duration 6/2013 – 8/2015
Academic field Social and health care, environment
Funding since 2007


Unviersity of Botswana, Botswana
Unviersity of Swaziland, Swaziland
University of Zambia, Zambia
Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Brief Description:

The Community Health and Environment 4 project (COHSE4) promotes the right to health and wellbeing in sustainable environment in all the four partner countries, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia and Finland.

In the southern partner countries the role of the traditional family as securing the well-being of its members is presently affected by the HIV/Aids epidemic, the lack of resources as well as the bread winners -husbands working far from their home and family. There is also need for more information about the physical living environments of the vulnerable families and the factors affecting their environmental health.

The goals of the network are to

  • produce and share information about the factors affecting community wellbeing and environmental health
  • gather and analyze new information about the vulnerable groups in the developing countries
  • introduce and develop participative and multidisciplinary research methods for the use of the partner universities
  • strengthen relations between the universities and their local communities (e.g. NGOs)
  • provide the students, teachers and experts participating in the project with intercultural learning experiences and opportunities to acquire skills needed at multicultural working conditions.

The fields of study represented in the project are social and health care and environmental studies. The COHSE project has been running since 2007.

Funded Activities
Number of Teacher Exchanges: 12
Number of Student Exchanges: 18
Number of Administrative Visits and Network Meetings: 1
Number of Intensive Courses: 1

Brief Description of the Intensive Course(s):

The intensive course increases awareness how different societies are structured and how different countries provide welfare and how welfare services are organized, as well as awareness of social development paradigm in family work. The intensive course will be organized in Swaziland in autumn 2014. The course provides more knowledge about the families as a vulnerable group in challenging today’s life situations. The course also strengthens the capacity of the local practitioners by providing tools and exchanged practices for family work e.g. in child welfare and maternity clinics. The course also empowers mothers to cope better with their children and hopefully fathers to engage more in their family life by offering a possibility to tell about their lives and needs.

The intensive course is worth 3 ECTS (or equivalent), and the participating students workload is fully recognized in the curricula of the home institution.

Brief Description of Possible Dissemination Measures:

The aim of the dissemination workshop is to share the new knowledge and participative methods used on the intensive course also with a wider audience than only the intensive course participants. The target groups iinvited to the workshop include: professionals working with the vulnerable families, e.g. social workers, government officials, NGOs, students and academics from the dep. of Sociology and dep. of Environmental Health at the University of Swaziland and local media.

Interesting Success Stories Related to the NSS Network Co-operation:

The student exchanges really have a big impact, not only for the exchange student him/herself, but wider. Even one foreign student in a class makes a difference: she/he can describe to other students and teachers the way things work back at home and thus give new information and points of comparison to the rest of the group. This has proved to be the case both with the students from North to South and from South to North.

Inviting all the incoming teachers to Finland at the same time has proved to be a success. This provides them with an opportunity to meet, discuss and build professional relations with each other – supporting also the South-South dimension of the programme.