Community members and advocates are uniting to help catalyze healthy living across the Navajo Nation, including passing healthy food and beverage policies, promoting healthy beverages with “water champions” and increasing water options at small grocery stores. All of the projects are part of the Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE) organization’s drive to increase access to and consumption of safe drinking water among Navajo children. Working with families, Head Start Program staff, community health representatives, Navajo Chapter House leaders and tribal leaders, COPE hopes to empower Navajo families and their children to shift toward healthier, available choices.
Healthy Food & Beverage Policies:
With the successful passage of a healthy food and beverage policy resolution by five tribal councils, COPE is piloting the policies at three early childhood programs, including Red Mesa Head Start, Teec Nos Pos FACE, and Beclabito FACE. Based on the results of the pilots, templates and lessons learned will be shared with other early childhood education programs interested in implementing similar policies.
COPE developed promotional posters featuring local “water champions” – such as Miss Navajo Nation, a Navajo medicine man, an 11-year-old half-marathon runner and Miss Teec Nos Pos – to distribute across the Navajo Nation. The posters include quotes on the importance of water to daily lifestyle routines and the many benefits of water consumption.
Increasing Water Options at Grocery Stores:
Building off their successful Healthy Navajo Stores Toolkit work, COPE is adding additional guidance for organizations and retailers on increasing water options at small grocery stores.
Click to learn more about COPE’s work, which is funded by the Notah Begay III Foundation’s Water First! Grant program.