19.5  Techniques to involve a community

For you to work best with the community, you need to identify the right people in the community who can explain to you their habits, customs, values, taboos and the rules of that community. These are sometimes called the community norms. You must also identify the people who can introduce you to the most influential members of the community, such as the kebele leaders, and ask them to introduce you to other co-workers, and to the community as a whole. It is also good to know and develop relationships with other influential people within your localities, such as the religious leaders, in order to be accepted by the community. These influential people are often called opinion leaders and are important people to keep informed about the sorts of health issues you feel should be addressed. Indeed, as you move forward, everyone in the community needs to be informed about these matters.

To be involved in the community, you need to develop the required or acceptable behaviour. So you need to be polite, persuasive and be good at being a role model. This will involve you being patient, a good listener, tolerant and self-restrained, honest, open, non-judgmental and respectful.

  • What three things do you think you need to work on at the beginning of your community mobilisation activities?

  • You should:

    1. Get the support of influential people in the community, including those who are called opinion leaders.
    2. Be sure that all the people of the community are informed about the health problems you want to address.
    3. Behave in an open and honest way, and try to act as a role model in the community.

19.4  The advantages of community mobilisation

19.5.1  Community relations