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Strategies to Improve Social Mobilization

Here, Piyusha Majumdar outlines strategies for strengthening social mobilization.
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PIYUSHA MAJUMDAR: In this section, we’ll walk around the different strategies used to improve the community engagement and social mobilization. By and large, we will be covering the innovative approaches used to increase volume with attendance during polio eradication activity. So even under favorable community situation, it may be necessary or helpful to improve the effectiveness of social mobilization strategy, moving from simple acceptance and participation to deeper community involvement and control of the health program, such as polio eradication. Moving the population from going along with the effort to sharing the goal and actively working to achieve the goal.
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In the next couple of slides, we will be exploring much more about the various categories of strategy, which is utilized in GPEI to improve social mobilization. So some of these strategies are also covered in more detail in other module of this course. One of the strategy to improve the effectiveness of social mobilization has been to engage very prominent and well-known persons, often celebrities. The second category is challenge the stereotype and the social hierarchy in highly patriarchal countries. And another one is to create or use symbol or ritual and ceremonies for creating awareness or culturally-appropriate measures to make a space inside the community.
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We’re going to discuss the first category, which is engagement of very prominent and well-known persons, often celebrities– so the strategy, which is used to improve social mobilization. So a lot of the strategy which has been used during the social mobilization is the engagement of very important and well-known persons– they’re often celebrities– in helping to move the public along the level of participation, moving from resistant to accepting, moving from those who already accept into more active participation and involvement in the effort. This can be done at a different level from using national or international stars, or the local star. Now I’m giving you the example of India and Bangladesh.
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In India, UNICEF used movie stars such as Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan to support the ongoing social mobilization activity. And this has really made an impact because most of the people– they said that they have come to the vaccination booth because Amitabh Bachchan has asked them to come. Talking about Bangladesh, schoolteachers that generally are respected in the communities– and they supported the local social mobilization effort to participating in the speeches that promote vaccination. Now just think about some example that is used to improve social mobilization.
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Another strategy which is used to improve social mobilization involves challenging stereotype and the social hierarchies to increase engagement of a person who are often marginalized from participating in such a thing such a social mobilization of health program. Or reaching out to the marginalized groups as a way of expanding the number of people engaged in community health activity, which is used to improve the effectiveness of community engagement. Some of the examples are getting permission from local and higher-level leaders for Muslim girls in some area of the India to trouble house-to-house for promoting vaccination. In Afghanistan, one of the agency, they’ve hired health promoters from among resistant refugees, and engage them in convincing the community to accept vaccination.
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Now I want you to share some other example that can fit into this category. So in this slide, we’re going to discuss another category, another strategy to improve social mobilization. So it is somewhat a very creative strategy, which is used to increase the effectiveness of social mobilization. And it involves creating or using the symbol, ritual, or ceremony that are familiar to the community. And adults who have increased awareness of health event, and it also increases community participation in a health activity. Some of the example are flying a well-known children’s immunization flag in Bangladesh to indicate that vaccine activity is happening, and asking them for people to come.
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There is an example in Indonesia where red helmet worn by the rotary mobilizer in Indonesia, who travel around the community on motorcycles with megaphones, shouting, hello, hello. Please gather in the post immediately. So these are the things are a different strategy which is used to improve the social mobilization or increase the community engagement. Look at it. Think about some other example that fit in this criteria, or a new example. Just think on these lines. So in order to improve the effectiveness of community engagement, we could use some other strategies, like social mobilization, done in a systematic manner. We can use the measures to reach the unreached, or those who are always on move.
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Then comes trust-building with the community gatekeeper, using lot of innovations like micro-planning or use of security forces to ensure security of vaccine and security of health providers, then using technologies like GIS-mapping or instant estimate services to provide information about the missing children. These are some of the additional strategies which could be used to improve the effectiveness of community engagement. So now we have come to the end of this presentation. I hope this lecture has touched the intricate details of community engagement. And by using the strategies described in the presentation, it can help you achieve the goal of your program or initiative.

Piyusha Majumdar, Ph.D, M.Sc Indian Institute of Health Management Research University, India

Here, we explore three categories of strategies utilized in the polio eradication effort to strengthen social mobilization – (1) engaging prominent and well-known persons, (2) challenging stereotypes and social hierarchies, and (3) creating or using symbols, rituals, and ceremonies

Which of these community engagement strategy types mentioned in the lecture might work in your context? Why?

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