Community mobilization and demand generation activities are a critical component of CBFP programs. Community mobilization forges a connection to local stakeholders and beneficiaries, generates demand, and most importantly educates the community with accurate information on family planning and the services CHWs can and cannot provide. Such activities also ensure that men, local leaders and youth are engaged and part of health activities in their own communities. Community involvement can lead to programs that are more:
- relevant because community members participate in problem identification and prioritization and decision-making around the design and implementation of approaches
- cost-effective because community resources supplement CBFP program resources
- gender equitable because the process challenges the notion that FP is a “woman’s issue” and instead treats it as a community development issue
- socially equitable because the process deliberately seeks to include marginalized groups such as youth, and the extremely poor.
Encouraging community ownership includes working with leaders, stakeholders, and community members to identify challenges and priorities for improving FP, and subsequently involving them in identifying and implementing strategies and activities to address any concerns. These groups include women of reproductive age, partners, in-laws, traditional and religious leaders, politicians, health representatives, community health workers, representatives of special interest groups, community organizations, and local NGOs. Community involvement can result in better CBFP outcomes including:
- increased community demand for FP
- increased ownership, support, and responsibility for implementing activities
- an enabling environment that helps people adopt and sustain new behaviors; people are more likely to sustain and improve health-related activities if they are active contributors.
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