Community Sensitization and Advocacy
In many instances FOCUS 1000 does not need to develop its own programs as the Government and partners have developed various health, nutrition, education and other development programs to address the needs of children and women in Sierra Leone. For Example, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support of key development partners developed a Basic Package of Essential Health Services in March 2010. This is buttressed by the Free Health Care Policy declared by the President in April 2010 to ensure free access to basic health care by pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of 5 years in all government facilities.
Despite the great improvement of basic services in health and education, the level of utilization remains low as many people are not fully aware about the benefit of the services and the consequences of not using the services for themselves or their children. There is dire need to improve demand and utilization of the services especially by marginalized and impoverished communities.
This is where FOCUS 1000 plays a crucial role in strategic communication as it uses an integrated approach to improving health, education, and other development outcomes in Sierra Leone.
Our team has a depth of experience in developing a range of behavior change communication (BCC) campaigns. Whether the campaign’s goal is to increase awareness of malaria prevention among pregnant women, shifting normative behaviors around sanitary practices that prevent cholera, or persuading legislators to enact policies that reduce health inequities in vulnerable communities, we take an adaptive approach that is informed by triangulated data points.
By segmenting the target audience, disaggregating data for each audience and rigorously pretesting and refining key messages, we embark upon an iterative process that produces tailored and targeted strategies that resonate with the local realities of the communities we work with. We merge evidence-based practices and behavior change theories to develop effective communication strategies that increase awareness, shift attitudes, and change behaviors and practices among diverse populations in Sierra Leone.