RAISE 4 Sahel Project Capacitates Trainers of Care Groups to quicken Social Behaviour Change in Targeted Communities
As a fast-track strategy to effectively implement its Zero Dose Immunization Program in conflict, fragile and vulnerable communities, the RAISE 4 ZDC Project has trained 25 delegates from its implementing regions and the national Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) of Cameroon as trainers of Care Groups.
The 5-day training, which started on February 21, took place at the CBC Health Services Resource Center in Mvan-Yaounde. The Training of Trainers (ToT) aimed at understanding the Care Groups structure and how to design/create, implement, monitor and ensure its sustainability after the project.
Care Group is a cascade of social behaviour change concepts that reaches all households through community volunteers. It is a group of 10–15 volunteer, community-based health educators who regularly meet with project staff for training and supervision. They are different from typical mother’s groups in that each volunteer is responsible for periodically visiting 10–15 of her neighbours (Neighbor Women), sharing what she has learned and facilitating social behaviour change at the household level.
Care Groups create a multiplying effect to equitably reach every beneficiary household with interpersonal behaviour change communication. The target populations of a Care Group are women of reproductive age, pregnant women, and mothers of children under five years old.
Addressing the participants, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, the Country Secretariat Director of the RAISE 4 ZDC Project, called on all delegates to ensure proper grasping of Knowledge being shared with them by the facilitators. He also called for assiduous implementation as this is one of the joker strategies to reach targeted under-immunized children in Cameroon.
Participants learned from the wealth of experience from the Senior Technical Advisor for Health and Nutrition from “Food for the Hungry USA” – Mrs Mariamu Amadi – and the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Lead of ACHAP, Kenya – Mr. Denis Kinyoki.
The training gave the delegates a perfect understanding of what Care Groups are, their core objectives and structure, and the criteria for selecting its target audience in the communities. Other lessons learned from the over 270-page manual included organizing communities into care groups and the numbering system, the roles, responsibilities and job description of a Care Group Volunteer, behaviour change and Care Groups, home visits, Care Group Monitoring Information Systems: introduction to registers, supervision and reporting.
At the end of the training, Mariamu Amadi, the lead facilitator, said, “Knowledge and information are no longer enough to affect social behaviour change positively; we need to do more than inform and educate. I have no doubt the participants would contextualize the Knowledge learned in their respective communities to create the desired results.”
Delegates left the CBC Health Services Resource Center Mvan, promising to begin preparing the ground for effective implementation of Care Groups upon the availability of funds. The training was made possible with funds from GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance – through World Vision US and the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP).