Community mobilization is a capacity-building process through which community members, groups, or organizations plan, carry out, and evaluate activities on a participatory and sustained basis to improve their health and other conditions either on their own initiative or stimulated by others (1). Community mobilization is a powerful tool for preventing HIV, as it empowers community members to work together and actively participate in creating change, thereby building collective efficacy and increasing the likelihood that the change created is sustainable.
Under BRIDGE II, Save the Children International used the Community Action Cycle to provide communities with the tools and skills to create social change, reduce their vulnerability to HIV and address other health and social issues on their own in the future.
To date, 567 communities have been engaged through the Community Action Cycle. They have identified key drivers of HIV infection in their communities, created action plans for addressing them, and implemented activities to create social and behavior change focused on reducing HIV infection. Some community leaders have gone so far as to institute community by-laws banning cultural practices which the community identified as major contributors to the spread of HIV.
- 567 Community Action Groups created, and approximately 5,670 Community Action Group members trained in how to mobilize their communities in HIV prevention.
- Over 800 Community Action Plans developed and implemented.
- 67 Traditional Leaders Forums, including approximately 1,005 traditional leaders, had their capacity built in community mobilization.
- Approximately 22,680 small discussion groups formed at the community level.
(1) L. Howard-Grabman and G. Snetro, How to Mobilize Communities for Health and Social Change, (Baltimore, MD: Health Communication Partnership/USAID, 2003), 3.