Connecting local responses around the world
For a month now, Celicia Theys, Blaise Sedoh, Jean Baby Fulama and I have been working closely with the C4D section of UNICEF Madagascar and its partners at central and regional level.
Identify good practices of the sectors facilitating community dialogue on essential family practices, support the sharing of experiences, approaches and vision between sectors, and support the harmonization of approaches facilitating community dialogue, to develop a harmonized Community Dialogue Facilitation Guide.
Community dialogue understood as a tool to stimulate local responses is not yet implemented. The sectors use the focus groups technique, image awareness campaigns, or other development communications tools, but they do not really facilitate community dialogue.
After several first steps, such as the appreciation of local facilitation practices, the facilitation of a sharing workshop, the facilitation of a harmonization workshop (common dream) and the development of the guide, we have the opportunity to initiate a pilot implementation of the guide (in a particular region), to strengthen and support community mobilisers in their role as facilitators of local responses.
It is also an opportunity for UNICEF and its partners to demonstrate that community dialogue has a significant impact on the development of communities, by communities.
The challenge? We need to stimulate the transfert of SALT and the transformation of attitude of local mobilisators in 6 days, to show significant impact of community dialogue in a context of a pre-polio campaign. We'll have only two weeks before the campaign to accompagny facilitator in their facilitation with local community.
In partnership with UNICEF, the Ministry of Communication, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the coaching team will facilitate a three weeks program to support existing community mobilizers, enabling them to facilitate real community dialogue, aiming at stimulating Malagasy communities to take ownership of the health of their children, including by having their children vaccinated.
We will work in a region where resistance to vaccination is high. After a week of training (combining workshops and practice), we will support the mobilizers in their facilitation of community dialogues. We have to boost the self-confidence of facilitators and partners so that they can facilitate the process without us (our presence would distort the discussion). We will be there to guide them before and after each community dialogue session.
Moreover, in this new program, UNICEF is seeking data from the communities concerning the reasons why children are not vaccinated, the reasons for refusal and resistance to immunization, and specifically polio vaccination. This is another goal! Your tips to accompany the facilitators in this data collection would be helpful.
We can say that this is a continuous training, which aims at stimulating change in the way facilitators perceive the community, at transferring the tools and confidence, and at having an immediate impact on the results of next polio campaign.
A real challenge!!! Stimulate ownership at two levels within a few weeks!
From your experiences what can you advice us to prioritize? How would you accompagny those facilitators in their facilitation to insure a direct impact for the polio campaign?
We know we can't do all the CLCP process in a short time, but we question ourself on what to expect, what to prioritize in the facilitation and how to transfer it to facilitators?
Advice, ideas or tools would help us?
Please share your experience, it will be useful!
Together, we are even stronger to act!
Jean Baby Fulama
what do you mean by emergency situation?
The urgency is the timing, and the issue with Polio. We have 3 weeks to train (6 days) facilitators and 2 weeks of implementation to get most result : Transfering SALT way of working and stimulating communities to realise their strenghts and responsability in the health of their child!
Hi Laurie, during the six days some of what are mentioned in the attached could help with focusing on the goals....the six days (if it could be less, offers opportunities for implementation of SMART actions in the next two weeks, which should be done with AERs following the implementation of each action. The practices (or stepping stones) could the results that could help UNICEF's programme moving forward. This must be tactfully done to indicate as it is coming as local response so that there be more ownership and responsibility of the communities.
Great that you raise this question, which stimulates our collective thinking.
Here are a few impressions I get from your request and answers to them. Please these are just hunches, take what seems useful, and leave the rest.
First, I get the impression that the sense of emergency is within you. There is no earthquake, no fire devastating the island. What you deal with is a tight schedule.
Please check within. Are you calm?
"It is not what you do that determines success, but the inner spirit with which you do it" (Sorry I forgot who said it!)
Second, six days for transferring SALT is more that we often get. It seems that the immediate challenge is not community ownership of the challenge of childhood mortality and morbidity; the challenge you face is that social workers within UNICEF and outside have to let go of the delusion that they are in control. And what is our approach to that? The practice of SALT. Through SALT, facilitators discover and unleash dormant energies within communities that will enable them to let go. At least, that is what it did to me.
Please focus on the essential transformation required. Practice SALT within the room and with nearby communities. No transport? Have people practice SALT with hotel staff, nearby shops and passers-by. And unlike the usual warning on TV advertisements, encourage participants to try this at home!
Warm regards and all the best. I'll stay tuned!
Hi Jean Louis
Thank you for your answer!
You are right to real emergency! May be what I wanted to share wasn't well expressed in this blog.
The real challenge for us is to show significant change in only 2 weeks of accompagniement of local facilitators. The pression is not from our partner, but we really see here that community dialogue is wanted from Youth Minister, Communication and Unicef, but health ministry is looking at results of this one month partnership. Their worry is on "what community dialogue and SALT approach can do in that period of polio campaign seen here as un emergency?".
And we know clearly that this mission is a pilote to show and document as much as possible the impact of community dialogue. Unicef and our partners from Ministry hope to show results from this.
I'm really calm about it. I know clearly the limits of CLCP process in a short amount of time. If facilitators, we'll train, receive an invitation to an other discussion from the community, this will be for me a success.
What I expect from that mission, is just to transfert the SALT spirit in a natural way and to gain the confidence of the community to extend the conversation.
We ask this request hopping for idea, tools or advice from the Constellation.
Indeed the word "Emergency" may not be the good one! Sorry about that! What do you suggest to say?
If you have advice on how to accompagny facilitators in their way to implement the SALT approach (just of info: we'll not accompagny them directly in communities to disturb the dialogue), we'll be happy to hear about!
Thank you again for you message!
If you remember I had raised the same point with you as JL did! And I have the same answer as JL. I would focus on spirit of our approach- SALT and community conversations. Challenge would be mindset of the facilitators and NGO staff. For years they have been 'doing' things for the community and changing to facilitative mode is very hard. It is when they begin to appreciate that communities have the capacity to act on their own issues will things change. Why do they need to take on so much burden ( you can put this argument). One question we can ask the communities is ' what will you do (on polio) when the project is over, as NGO staff will no longer be there after the project.'
Am sure you will do very well! Do you share your experience so that we can learn from you and apply in our work especially our new project on immunisation in India. Best of luck!
Yes Rituu, Indeed!
You all are right! The spirit of SALT is our key. I'm trully convinced that we'll make significant change in the mind of the facilitators and in the way they will discuss the issue with the community. As much as we receive ideas and comment I start to developp my confidence in the programm we'll facilitate.
Of course I'll share our experience on this.
Thank you to all of you!
Thanks for sharing this experience - really delighted of the thinking around stimulating community conversations(Dialogue) around polio vaccination. My experience, is that, let the formed teams in each community get better in facilitation of the stimulus process through systematic SALT visits to homes and neighborhoods. The encounter in the home environment (private conversations) will open up a pathway for conversations around hopes/vision, strengths for response and concerns. These conversation will spiral out to activate multiple homes to think of their own health and possibilities for neighborhoods ( public space) conversations for collective action by the community will emerge.
My take from SE District in Botswana where we are implementing the National strategy( CATCH - Communities acting together to control HIV/AIDS) is that - let the teams Not only focus on REACH but also go deep on concerns being named during the SALT visit to homes. Essentially conversations are deep and relational - and a sense of mutual trust is the foundation as people realize we are together and its possible to turn around the issue at hand. Conversations are not health surveys! Be on the watch on INCLUSION as a strategy during the conversation by reflecting on who is missing? who needs to be included, how can we include them?
The REACH question is likely to erode the spirit of local responses to polio as people focus on coverage/Nos alone.
For me also - there are two possibilities for generating the data that can as well serve as baselines - one through conversations in the home, where the teams together can make a syntheisis of the most named concerns and subsets of concerns linked to polio while the other option is if the community can get to the level of doing a self assessment.
Madagascar/ Botswana - we need to talk - Harmonization???