Francophone Summit for Social and Behavior Change Communication: Putting sustainability and inclusiveness at the heart of interventions

The delegation of Mali during the SBCC summit.

MSH staff in Mali working for the Debbo Alafia Consortium and the USAID-Keneya Jemu Khan (KJK) project participated in the Francophone Summit for Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Feb. 25–27, 2019.

The objective of this summit, which was organized by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs and the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene of Côte d’Ivoire, was to promote discussions to build the capacity of staff working on SBCC in sub-Saharan Africa and share experiences and examples of good practices from multiple programs to expand the scope of SBCC-related interventions.

André Yallan Sidibé and Adama Sanogo, who are responsible for monitoring and evaluation for the Debbo Alafia Consortium in Mopti, presented and participated in technical sessions during this summit. Funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Debbo Alafia Consortium works to build the capacity of community-based organizations, including women’s and youth groups, religious leaders, and community health workers. They work to mobilize people and promote social action for the prevention of harmful practices such as gender-based violence, female genital mutilations, and child marriage and to promote the use of modern family planning.

For Adama, sustainability is key. He gave a presentation during the summit on the social pressure that victims of sexual violence face after filing lawsuits and said, “It is important to analyze what works and what doesn’t and how successful interventions can be improved and sustained over time.”

[From left to right: Adama Sanogo (MSH), Seydou Diarra (CARE), Mariam Diakite (IRH), Gahoussou Traoré (CAEB), Boubacar Bocoum (KJK), and Mamadou Coulibaly (Grand Mother Project). Photo credit: André Yallan Sidibé]From left to right: Adama Sanogo (MSH), Seydou Diarra (CARE), Mariam Diakite (IRH), Gahoussou Traoré (CAEB), Boubacar Bocoum (KJK), and Mamadou Coulibaly (Grand Mother Project). Photo credit: André Yallan Sidibé

The summit was also an opportunity to introduce to a larger public an essential tool to improve program performance: PROGRES. PROGRES is an institutional capacity assessment tool developed by MSH that supports civil society and government institutions to identify areas requiring support to foster sustainability and resilience. According to Mariame Sene Diallo, Capacity Building Specialist for the USAID-funded KJK project, PROGRES helps an organization identify its needs to improve operations and performance in SBCC. She provided a detailed description of the PROGRES tool: “The beneficiary will give itself a grade for different areas of assessment — communications strategies, for example — while providing the means of verification. Once the assessment is completed, we develop the implementation strategy and provide various recommendations.” This approach is useful to implement consolidation measures of achievements for an SBCC program in a sustainable way.

[Mariame Sene Diallo during her poster presentation on the PROGRES tool. Photo credit: Dr. Issiaga Daffe, COP of the KJK project in Mali.]Mariame Sene Diallo during her poster presentation on the PROGRES tool. Photo credit: Dr. Issiaga Daffe, COP of the KJK project in Mali.

Mariame was also proud of the fact that this summit will enable stronger coordination among the different stakeholders. In Mali, she said that the different teams “have set the goal to create an SBCC technical group in 2019 to capitalize on their achievements at a national level.” This group would be very useful because “it would gather all the actors in this field with a mandate to discuss and find solutions in the field of SBCC.”