10.6.2 Community mobilisation
Community mobilisation is a process of capacity building in which individuals, groups and communities carry out activities on a voluntary, fully participatory basis for a commonly agreed goal. The goal of community mobilisation in the context of the management of severe acute malnutrition is to raise awareness of what malnutrition is and where and how to seek treatment using the OTP services available at the health post. Raising awareness, early case detection, giving information on appropriate childcare, reduction of defaulting and creation of a sense of ownership by the community are among the aims of community mobilisation.
To instigate community mobilisation effectively you need to map what formal and informal communication structures exists in the community. You need to identify respected men and women in the community that people would listen to. If you convince them of the need for managing severe acute malnutrition, then it will be a lot easier for you to convince other residents in the same community. You can even ask the respected elders to talk to their villagers. For example, you could use the formal communication channels — including the kebele administration and Gott leaders — and ask them to use one of their meetings to pass on key messages.
The content of the key messages may be different depending on your aims, for example, whether you want to emphasise the importance of follow-up of children on treatment, or raise community awareness on the subject of acute malnutrition. Community mobilisation is looked at in more detail in the Health Education Module.