BRIDGE II and its partners used many methods to engage communities for HIV prevention, including community wide events, which reinforced Tasankha mass media campaign messages. These events brought to peoples’ attention key choices that they can make to prevent HIV infection, helped remind people of the basic facts about HIV, and encouraged people to use available HIV and AIDS services in their communities. Since community wide events attracted large audiences, they also presented a unique opportunity for traditional leaders to discuss various health issues within their communities.
BRIDGE II conducted events in three formats: Open Days, Road Shows, and Community Discussion Forums.
- Open Days attracted 500 to 1,000 people to each event. People attending open days received HIV prevention messages through interactive drama, personal testimonies, poetry, traditional dances, music and activities from BRIDGE II Transformative Tools. In addition to promoting HIV prevention services, the project collaborated with nearby health facilities to provide on-site HIV counseling and testing services for attendees after they received strategic behavior change messaging.
- Road Shows were very similar to Open Days, organized by a group that traveled from village to village holding events in public gathering places using a branded campaign van. BRIDGE II organized Tasankha-themed and Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision-focused Road Shows at least twice in each community and reached approximately 1,000 people per event.
- Community Discussion Forums provided an opportunity for smaller, more targeted groups within communities to discuss how to address key drivers of the HIV epidemic as identified by the community members themselves.
- During six years of implementation, BRIDGE II reached over 2,300,000 people with HIV prevention messages through community wide events, with over 30,000 people receiving HIV testing services during these events.
- Personal testimonies motivated many people to make better choices and take action to change their behaviors on issues such as multiple and concurrent sexual partners, HIV counseling and testing and many others.
- Traditional leaders demonstrated their support for HIV prevention directly with their communities throughout the process through their ongoing involvement in organizing and conducting community wide events.