Health Education, Advocacy and Community Mobilisation Module: Introduction
Introduction to the Health Education, Advocacy and Community Mobilisation Module
This Module comes early in your course of study for a very good reason: most of the other parts of your work depend to some degree on how effective you are at your Health Education, Advocacy and Community Mobilisation activities. For example there is not much point knowing all there is to know about immunization if you haven’t been able to persuade the people in your community to attend to have their injections. As well as individual Health Education work, many things that will actually improve the health of your community depend on community and communal action — a single person would find it difficult to get clean water into their village, but the whole community working together may well be able to do that — and latrines as well.
Of course even individual villages and communities might find it difficult to achieve certain health goals — like getting clean water — and this is where your Advocacy work will be so essential. Advocacy work will make sure that the people in authority, higher up the decision-making ladder, know of the health needs of your locality and will work together with you and others in your village to develop the infrastructure that will improve the health of your community. And it’s not just people further up the social structure who can help you in your Health Education activities. Advocacy work will help you identify other sources of help and support to combine with you to achieve health improvements in your locality. Perhaps there are non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or other agencies with resources that you could use — certainly working together with other agencies will increase the effectiveness of all your healthrelated activities.
Although some people seem to be natural educators and motivators, other health workers may feel daunted by this aspect of their work. ‘Where can I start to do the Health Education and Community Mobilisation work that really will improve the health of the people in my village and in my community?’ they might ask. Hopefully your study of this Module will help you both with the theoretical underpinning of your Health Education work, but also with some practical ideas of where to start and how to go about your work with individuals, families and with the whole community.
This Module does contain some study sessions that focus on theoretical issues such as helping you to learn about human behaviour, or how people learn. We hope that you will find this theoretical work interesting, but also of great practical use as well. Understanding these issues will help you in your day-to-day work when you are actually faced with people who you need to engage with. Sometimes the people who most need to hear Health Education messages are the least likely to want to hear them.
The other major theme throughout the Module concerns the need for planning, monitoring, evaluation and being generally methodical in all your Health Education work. Without careful collection of data and keeping records of all your activities nobody will know how effective your Health Education work is — not even you.
We hope that you enjoy working through this Module — and that you enjoy your Health Education, Advocacy and Community Mobilisation work in the community with all the extra knowledge and information you will gain from your study of these 20 study sessions.