Notun Din – An Innovative Community Mobilization Program
Under the USAID funded Marketing Innovation for Health (MIH), SMC is implementing an innovative Community Mobilization Program called Notun Din through four implementing partners in 19 districts of the country. Among the partners, Shimantik is working in four districts of Sylhet division (Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Sunamganj and Sylhet), CWFD in three districts of Barisal division (Barisal, Jhalokati, Perojpur) and one district of Dhaka division (Faridpur), BRAC in seven districts of Chittagong division (Bandarban, Brahmanbaria, Chandpur, Comilla, Feni, Laxmipur, Noakhali), and PSTC in four districts of Dhaka division (Kishoreganj, Munshiganj, Narsingdi, Madaripur).
Through this program, messages on five core health packages are disseminated to mostly rural women and men in the 19 priority districts. The information packages contain messages on Healthy Timing & Spacing of Pregnancy (HTSP), The First 1,000 Days of a Child (pregnancy to 2 years), Healthy Pregnancy, Adolescent Reproductive Health and TB Prevention and Management. For reaching out to the target population with the messages, SMC has introduced an innovative approach of conducting group sessions. Unlike traditional ways of verbal discussion on the issues, audio-based drama is played in these sessions with pictorial aid to assure audience’s better understanding. Below are the type of meetings and Interpersonal communication (IPC) sessions that Notun Din organizes to reach the target audience:
a. Advocacy meetings to generate support for the program at the community level
b. Group meetings with MWRAs and caregivers of children < 5 on HTSP and the first 1000 days
c. Group meetings with husbands of MWRAs on HTSP and the first 1000 days
d. Group meetings with work place workers on HTSP messages
e. School Health Program to reach students with adolescent health message
As part of the program, Community Sales Agents (CSAs) are engaged to sell SMC contraceptives, ORS and other health products to households within an agent’s catchment areas. This gives rural women an opportunity to earn profit margins on the sales they make. This idea of creating local level entrepreneurs was developed largely by SMC which is committed to sustain the supply of commodities to these agents far beyond the life of the MIH project and help these women become role models for many others in the community. CSAs also promote essential health messages of the program and provide support to organize various community level events like mobile film program, day observation, school education program and outreach program of Floating IEC Center.
As a part of the strategy to strengthen mobilization efforts, SMC has engaged its 8 Mobile Film Units inthe MIH intervention upazilas. SMC is using this popular media channel to reach people in remote and media- dark areas to reinforce community mobilization activities with short films on the MIH core communication packages. Additionally, SMC is also providing training to the Private Community Health Providers (PCHP) in the MIH areas to build their capacity and improve their knowledge as well as overall service quality.