25.2.1 What is community mobilisation?
You learnt the basic principles of community mobilisation in the Module on Health Education, Advocacy and Social Mobilisation.
Community mobilisation is a capacity building process through which a community, individuals, groups and organisations plan, carry out and evaluate activities on a participatory and sustained basis to achieve an agreed-upon goal, either on their own initiative or stimulated by others. It uses deliberate, participatory processes to involve local institutions, local leaders, community groups and members of the community to organise for collective action towards a common purpose. Community mobilisation is characterised by respect for the community and its needs.
Community mobilisation for HIV is a process in which a community makes use of its own assets and capacities to prevent and control HIV/AIDS. A community takes ownership of actions with a shared sense of urgency to reduce and reverse the spread of the epidemic. It involves all relevant segments of society in order to create an enabling environment and effect positive behaviour and social change. It also brings together the community to provide care and support to infected, affected and vulnerable individuals; and to increase utilisation of HIV/AIDS services through creation of knowledge and skills at community level.
The daily routine of most people in Ethiopia is closely linked with religious, cultural and traditional values and norms. Formal and informal leaders, religious and other community leaders, have irreplaceable roles in mobilising their community due to their unique spiritual and traditional position. Hence, they have a critical role through community mobilisation, and in challenging traditional values and norms that are counterproductive to the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS.
Clearly, community mobilisation is a key intervention that brings different groups of your community together and uses community resources for shared and agreed action in the prevention and control of HIV.