Community-Based Organization Network Strengthening

BRIDGE II worked to strengthen Community-Based Organization (CBO) Networks in all its implementation districts. This contributed to BRIDGE II’s overall goal of supporting Malawian institutions in effective leadership and coordination of HIV prevention efforts.

To begin the process of strengthening CBO networks, BRIDGE II implementation partner PACT, Inc., conducted two Organizational Network Analyses (ONA) surveys in the project’s phase I districts  (Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe, Nsanje and Chikwawa) and one ONA survey in phase II districts (Zomba, Mwanza, Neno, Blantyre and Machinga) to determine patterns of interaction among CBOs and within CBO networks. The results were used by CBO Networks to strengthen themselves by better utilizing their resources and further involving members that were isolated and/or not fully engaged.

In addition to conducting ONA surveys, BRIDGE II trained CBO and CBO Network members in proposal writing, CBO management and leadership, conflict management, team building, and supervision. The project also facilitated Best Practices Conferences (BPC). BPCs allowed representatives from CBOs and CBO networks within the districts to learn from each other and share expertise on CBO management, resource mobilization, the importance of documentation and how to run effective social and behavior change communication programs for HIV prevention.

BRIDGE II formed and strengthened the capacity of District Network Strengthening Teams (DNSTs) in all implementation districts. DNSTs ensured that CBO networks were effective and carrying out their responsibilities in a coordinated way.

Achievements

  • Throughout the life of the BRIDGE II project, 67 CBO networks were engaged in capacity strengthening activities.

Through their involvement in BRIDGE II, the CBOs in these networks gained expertise in the implementation of HIV prevention activities. Many of them are now taking commendable steps to promote HIV prevention that exceed their efforts prior to participation in the project. For example, some CBO networks have advocated with higher government authorities for improved health services (e.g., HIV counseling and testing, voluntary medical male circumcision) to be brought to their areas, and others have taken BRIDGE II approaches, such as the use of Transformative Tools, beyond project catchment areas. Through capacity and network strengthening, BRIDGE II is confident that participating CBO networks will be able to sustain and build upon the advances they have made.