"The systematic, step by step approach outlined here will help social mobilizers to work effectively and achieve their objectives: To inform, educate and encourage parents, carers and other stakeholders to better understand, seek and take up potentially life-saving services and promote these services in their communities."
Social mobilisation uses different forms of communication to educate communities about important health (and other) issues. Social mobilisers actively encourage people to take up essential services like the polio vaccine. From the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), this illustrated resource manual has been prepared to guide facilitators and trainers conducting orientation and familiarisation sessions with frontline social mobilisers and health and allied workers engaged with polio prevention and other supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) in Somalia. Its purpose is to guide an initial workshop and to help clarify the roles and responsibilities of field workers.
As WHO and UNICEF explain, effective social mobilisation is critical to ensure that parents and caregivers can make informed decisions and accept immunisations and other life-saving interventions for their children. Social mobilisers help community members understand why and how they should have their children immunised. They provide information about immunisation opportunities, days and times, and the action parents, carers, and community leaders need to take.
The manual outlines a highly participatory approach in which all participants are actively involved. It includes ready to use (and copy) handouts for participants, extra material for trainers, and the key facts that trainers, facilitators, and field workers need. It intended to equip these personnel with practical, hands-on skills they need for their work, including during Supplementary Immunization Days (SIDs) and related activities and campaigns. Specifically: Section I details the fundamentals of participatory approaches and outlines commonly used methods that appear in the learning sessions. It serves as an overview of how the manual should be used by facilitators and trainers, and adapted to fit their own contexts. Section II outlines the training sessions. Section III includes trainers' notes and supplementary material, and Section IV includes participant handouts.
"Training materials like this manual are just tools. What is important is how they are used. Materials often need to be adapted to suit particular contexts and participants. You always need to spend time getting to know new material before using it in the field. this might involve discussing it with more experienced trainers, colleagues and/or community members, to check its suitability and adapt as necessary."
Rhizome, April 3 2018.