BUILDING COMMUNITIES POWER TO ENGAGE, UNDERSTAND THEIR RIGHTS AND DEMAND REPRODUCTIVE, MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH SERVICES.
WAG has been implementing the H4+ project in Mbire, Chipinge and Chiredzi districts. The project aimed to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 4 (To reduce Child Mortality and 5 (Improve Maternal Health). The project focused on demand generation for Reproductive Maternal Neonatal and Child Health (RMNCH), Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and Gender Based Violence (GBV) services. WAG’s contribution was towards mobilizing communities to access and utilize RMNCH, SRH and GBV services. WAG has therefore trained Community Based Advocates (CBAs) in the aforementioned districts who are working at grass roots level mobilizing the communities to access health and GBV services. The CBA’s are encouraging the communities to get tested for HIV, Cervical and prostate cancer screening, family planning, pregnant women to book their pregnancies early and delivering at health centres and reporting GBV. WAG has also selected Forum members in the 3 districts who will be discussing health and GBV related issues arising from their communities. Under this project, WAG has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and Victim Friendly Unit Police. This has assisted the WAG to raise the advocacy issues arising from the communities to these service providers. Tangible results has been comprehended through the UnWomen H4+ project. The achievements are as follows:
Results of the Intervention.
a. Male involvement in maternal health, SRH and HIV related issues have increased. The health worker in the wards that WAG has been working in testified that some men are now accompanying their wives for Antenatal Care and HIV testing. This has also been noted as some men are even coming together with their wives at WAG meetings. The project has resuscitated marriages in the areas that WAG has been working in.
b. The programme has made the communities realize the importance of taking initiative roles that assist in addressing health and GBV related problems. In Chipinge district, the communities have made contributions in the construction of a Waiting Mother’s Shelter at Tuzuka and the construction of Dakate bridge (which will make it easy for the community to access the health centre in rain season) and the construction of a clinic in Chiredzi These contributions are in the form of bricks, water, labour, pit and river sand.
c. Income Generating projects are mushrooming as a result of the project. WAG encouraged the communities to engage projects that gives them some income as it will assist in reducing GBV and make them access the health services easily. Since then, it has been noted that the some people are now doing chicken and quail projects, soap projects and aisle (mukando) projects
WAG CBA engaged on a gardening project
d. The ball games that were introduced by the H4+ project has assisted in reducing cases of GBV in the community as they now have games that occupies them. Besides the reduction of GBV, the ball games are also assisting in improving the physical and mental health of the communities, particularly pregnant women who need to exercise regularly.
e. The communities are now extending their houses as a result of the programme. Though the H4+ programme, they have come to realize that sleeping in the same room with children may contribute to child sexual abuse and early child marriages.