District- and Community-Level Capacity Building

BRIDGE IIs’ General Approach to Capacity Building at District and Community Level

BRIDGE IIs’ general approach to capacity building at the district and community level was multifaceted and based on a cascade model. First, BRIDGE II provided formal trainings to individuals at district level on topics such as use of transformative toolscommunity mobilisation, SBCC, and CBO network strengthening.  The trained individuals then trained others at Traditional Authority level on the same topics, reinforcing their own skills in the process. Those trained at TA level later facilitated sessions with people at Group Village Head level. In this way, skills learned at the district level were cascaded to the TA and community levels.  After applying their skills for some time, each person went through a refresher course at least once in order to review the basic principles of their activity and find solutions to common challenges they encountered in the field. BRIDGE II also facilitated quarterly mentoring sessions, review meetings and supervisory visits throughout the implementation period to reinforce the skills and knowledge of those implementing program activities.   

An Example of the Cascade Training Model

Capacity building conducted with District AIDS Coordinating Committees (DACCs) provides a good example of BRIDGE II’s cascaded model of training. DACCs are structures of the Malawi government that include participation from local government officials and NGO representatives. DACCs provide oversight, support, and coordination of HIV related activities in each district.

BRIDGE II trained 10 members of the DACC sub-committee, the Behavior Change Intervention Sub Technical Committee (BCI -STC), on community mobilization using the Community Action Cycle (CAC) – a tool for helping communities identify and prioritize issues affecting their community, and develop strategies for addressing them. These 10 individuals formed the District Community Mobilization Team(DCMT). The DCMT later trained members of the Area Development Committee–Community Mobilization Team (ADC-CMT) members (a structure at the Traditional Authority level) through a similar training on community mobilization and the CAC. The ADC-CMT further built the capacity of Community Action Groups (CAGs) at the Group Village Headman (GVH) level. The CAGs then facilitated sessions with their communities using the CAC to explore key drivers of HV in their communities and come up with plans for addressing those key drivers. They then worked with community members to implement interventions for dealing with the spread of HIV in their community, and later evaluated their efforts and re-planned according to the findings.   

Strengthening the Capacity of Community Structures 

BRIDGE II strengthened the capacity of structures at the community level to implement activities related to HIV prevention in their communities and to sustain BRIDGE II activities after the project ended.  BRIDGE II:

  • Oriented traditional leaders on how some cultural beliefs and norms fuel the spread of HIV in their localities and how they can address them.
  • Trained CBOs and CBO networks on proposal writing, CBO management and leadership, conflict management, team building, and supervision.
  • Held Best Practices Conferences—forums through which CBOs within each district learnt from each other on how to manage their CBOs.
  • Built capacity of the Behavior Change and Intervention Sub Technical Committee (BSI-STC) (which were also called Community Action Groups) of each CBO in:
    • Use of the CAC to support the community mobilisation process.
    • Facilitation of discussions using BRIDGE II Transformative Tools.
    • Referral of people to services through the two referral models that the project developed: the Community Referral Agent Model of Referral and the Promotional Model of Referral.

District Level Capacity Building

At the district level, the project built the capacity of the technical arm of each DACC in the form of the BCI-STC that helped supervise BRIDGE II activities at district and community levels.  The capacity building of each district’s BCI-STC and the formation of a DCMT within each district are described above.  

BRIDGE II also formed and built the capacity of District Network Strengthening Teams (DNSTs) in all implementation districts. Members of these teams included the District AIDs Coordinator, the District Social Welfare Officer, DCMT members and the DACC Chairperson. The role of this team was to ensure that CBOs are effective and executing their responsibilities in a coordinated way.  The teams worked closely with BRIDGE II in conducting Organizational Network Analyses (ONA) of local CBOs, analysing the results and drawing action plans for strengthening the CBOs based on the results. As part of BRIDGE II’s exit strategy, the project trained DNSTs on how to use NodeXL, free and user-friendly software for analysing the interaction of organizations within a locality.