(April 25, 2022, Paynesville City, Liberia)—The Ministry of Health is hosting a five-day regional training on “Mobilizing Communities for Reproductive Health and Family Planning”. It is being held at the Kendeja Hotel, Paynesville City, outskirt of Monrovia.
The training, which started today, April 25 -29,2022, is organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Breakthrough Action-Liberia.
Firmly grounded in proven practices, Breakthrough ACTION has been working in partnership with the Liberian government through the Ministry of Health, civil society, and communities in twelve counties across Liberia to implement creative and sustainable SBC programming, nurture SBC champions, mainstream new techniques and technologies, and advocate strategic and sustained investment in SBC.
“Breakthrough ACTION is a cooperative agreement funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to lead our SBC programming in Liberia. Breakthrough ACTION is a partnership led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs in collaboration with Save the Children, etc”, Dr. Saratu Olabode-Ojo, Chief of Party, Breakthrough Action-Liberia, disclosed at the opening of the training. “This training a five-day training. It’s a regional community engagement training, organized for Anglo-phone countries. There are seven countries present here. The idea is to training them on community engagement with a focus on family planning and reproductive health intervention.”
“Breakthrough ACTION ignites collective action and encourages people to adopt healthier behaviors—from using modern contraceptive methods and sleeping under bed nets to being tested for HIV—by forging, testing, and scaling up new and hybrid approaches to social and behavior change (SBC).”
However, Hon. Joyce D Sherman, Assistant Minister for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health, has lauded USAID and Breakthrough ACTION for their continuous interventions and at the same time called on participants to remain focused during the five-day training period.
“Taking responsibility as well as holding together, I see it as part of this training. However, I welcome you again”, she welcomed on behalf of the Minister of Health.
The five-day training exercise focus is to strengthen participant’s capacities to carry out Community Mobilization for Reproductive Health and family planning, using the adapted Community Action Cycle (CAC).
At the end of the training, participants are expected to understand various concepts including social and behaviour change communication (SBCC); social and behavior change (SBC); Community Mobilization (CM) and how they interrelate to each other; assess and strengthen community capacity to identify and prioritize reproductive health (RH)/ family planning (FP) issues, plan and implement effective community activities to address these issues; articulate their feelings, values and attitudes about gender and how personal perspectives of gender affects their work with communities; monitor community mobilization process, outcomes, and learning across communities; and plan how the new skills and knowledge will be applied upon return to their respective countries.
Participant will be able to describe strategies to build partnership between communities and health system; explain and model strategies to orient the community to their RH/FP issues; discuss key considerations and model strategies to build trust, credibility and a sense of ownership with the community.
These discussions and model strategies, when applied, would invite and encourage those most affected by RH/FP issues to meaningfully participate in CM. The participants will also assemble a Community Action Group (CAG) to work on key FP/RH issues, describe and modem approaches and tools to explore and prioritize SBC determinants of RH/FP issues; identify community behavior that are easier or harder to change; examine culture changes during their lifetimes; explore the difference between respecting culture and changing culture and discuss when and how it’s appropriate to nudge changes in social and cultural norms; and model the development of a Community Action Plan to address prioritized FP/RH determinants.
Finally, at the end of the training, participants are expected to define process and tools for supportive supervision, monitoring and reporting of community mobilization initiatives, identify the areas of improvement for the workshop, and annex commitment to use their new skills to mobilize communities in their respective countries.
Their interventions will harness the demonstrated power of communication—from mass media to community outreach to user-driven social media campaigns—to inspire long-lasting change, while also taking advantage of innovative approaches from marketing science, behavioral economics, and human-centered design.
Director of Communications, MoH/RL