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Project details

Start date: March 9th 2017
Status: Finished
Duration: 9 weeks
Country: South Africa
Coordinator: Alice Grasveld
Number of participants: 4
Number of local researchers: 2

Sustainable Development Goals

PAR Report

Other related readings

The Healthy Teeth Challenge

A PAR that empowered a community in Mfuleni township, South Africa to improve oral health among children and reduce school absence due to toothache.

Project team


In South Africa there are few dentists in the townships. Dental health is found to be poor in these areas, with a large number of children experiencing toothache and consequently not going to school. The Healthy Teeth Challenge was set up in order to address this issue and find solutions together with inhabitants of Mfuleni Township and other stakeholders.  

PAR Design


A local tooth brushing program developed and realized by the local community in Mfuleni Township, an educational sports day and wallpainting with educational message, aiming to reduce toothache and subsequent school absence.



The Healthy Teeth Challenge has created awareness in the community of Mfuleni township about poor oral health amongst children and the consequences for their future. Now parents and children know what they need to do to prevent these problems. During the follow-up a mother said:

‘Because of this project my children now want to brush their teeth everyday. Not only at school, but also at home. The oldest child asked me to buy toothbrushes and toothpaste and taught her brothers and sisters how to take care of their teeth. I am really happy about that.’

Founder and challenge supervisor Alice Grasveld won the first prize of the UVA alumni Awards 2017 with The Healthy Teeth Challenge. Furthermore, the Healthy Teeth Challenge inspired Alice Grasveld to start The Healthy Teeth Foundation in 2018, focusing on Participatory Action Research into oral health and education amongst children.

Project images