Community Interventions & Mobilization

Community mobilization is an effective means to behavior change around care-seeking. In community mobilization, community members assess their own health needs and develop and monitor their own solutions to identified problems. This strategy has been shown to be effective in improving the utilization of health care services, for example, emergency services for mothers and infants.

Because facility-based interventions are not always rapidly or easily available or accessible, it is critical to provide home and community-based care and outreach while promoting community mobilization to demand high-quality, facility-based services. Empowered, knowledgeable community members can hold service delivery sites accountable for high-quality care, especially with the support of the political and policy process. [Source: ACCESS Program. 2006. Home and Community-Based Health Care for Mothers and Newborns]

The theoretical basis for the community mobilization approach is a model known as the community action cycle. The six stages of community mobilization (listed below) are structured in accordance with and closely follow the phases of this cycle, which describes in a general way how community members work together to identify and address local problems and evaluate the results.

Step 1: Identify stakeholders for maternal and newborn health

Step 2: Meet with stakeholders to discuss essential maternal and newborn care (EMNC) health needs

Step 3: Assemble a community mobilization team

Step 4: Gather information about the community and local EMNC issues

Step 5: Develop a community mobilization plan

Step 6: Strengthen the capacity of the community mobilization team.

[Source: ACCESS Program. 2009. How to Mobilize Communities for Improved Maternal and Newborn Health]