Social Mobilization and Behavioral Change Communication Response to Ebola Crisis
It was determined through baseline evaluations that there were gaps between levels of knowledge and adoption of preventive behaviors. The intention of i-APS work was to gain insight into the social mobilization response and the communication challenges that led to the resistance and the non-adoption of preventative behavior of the Ebola response by both youth and adults. The objectives of the study included:
- Identify key behavioral issues that positively or negatively affect health seeking behavior or care practices related to Ebola among young people ages fourteen to twenty- four and adults twenty-five to thirty-five, including gaining insights into sources of knowledge and influences on adoption of positive change and the role of denial, misinformation, fear, stigma, ignorance, among other key elements. The data was disaggregated by respondents in urban, peri-urban and rural areas.
- Gain insights onto the obstacles to accessing Ebola related services including access and quality of services offered and the dynamics related to the demand for services including the economic, social, cultural, political, religious environments, and reluctance and resistance to the creation and/or use of services.
- Gauge levels of trust and confidence in community organizations, non-governmental organizations, institutions and leaders (traditional leaders, political leaders, faith- based groups, schools, and medical authorities) and ascertain the most effective and engaging approaches using social mobilization.
- Gain insights into the socio-cultural practices of male and female caregivers in the EVD context including burial rituals, denial of high risks involved in the desire to return deceased to home villages for burial, and identify more effective strategies for influencing changes in harmful practices.
- Identify emerging social mobilization, organizational and communication gaps and evaluate the implications for informing future short, medium, and long term strategic planning. Identify opportunities for more effective strategic options for social mobilization, behavior change, messaging and creation of an enabling environment.
- Identify sources of information and credibility of different mass media and interpersonal communications on Ebola including community radio, posters, house-to-house visits, school networks, etc. Assess the level of success of the different messengers and methods.