Rwenzori Center for Research and Advocacy Executive Director Reflects on SBCC Summit

by Jostas Mwebembezi, Executive Director, Rwenzori Center for Research and Advocacy (RCRA)

I’ve participated in several years of strategic work in social behavioral change communication (SBCC). The first international SBCC Summit converged the global community of SBCC organizations, professionals and researchers to advance the practice of behavior change communication at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on February 8-10, 2016.

jostas1The Summit attracted over 700 people of common language including the behavior change communication practitioners representing 50 countries from all continents. The event was organized by Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and others.

Day One plenary with keynotes was moderated by Kojo Lokko, Deputy Project Director of the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3). He said that the SBCC is key in achieving the 17 Sustainable development goals with 169 targets. Among the keynote speakers, Kumi Naido, Executive Director of the African Civil Society Center, presented the role of communication in a world in crisis, he highlighted three tier for civil society activity focus for interventions namely; Governance Change, Policy Change, and Delivery of projects and programs which he categorized into the level of intervention, period to success, and level of current civil society percentage investment.

Level of Intervention Period to success (years) Level of current civil society investment (%)
Macro 5 to 20 5
Meso 2 to 10 15
Micro 1 to 3 80

Below is one of the many breakout session in the United Nations Conference Centre Caucus,Banquet, and Conference Rooms:

jostas4 jostas3

In the afternoon of day one, Eliana Monteforte and Judith Beth Seltzer, the Senior Technical Advisor and Principal Senior Advisor Institutional Development respectively at Management Sciences for Health, conducted the first workshop in a three-part series on improving the sustainability of SBCC organizations. Oriented the SBCC Summit attendees on how to use the Program for Organizational Growth, Resilience and Sustainability (PROGRES). This largely strengthened the attendees competence to assess their organisation, an analysis drawn from the attendees interactions in the caucus room after the workshop.

Dr. Hilmi Quraishi the Founder of ZMQ Development and Ashoka Fellow explains the role of MIRA Channel in health education through games and storytelling, Mira Channel was implemented in India and is now being scaled in Uganda and Afghanistan.
Dr. Hilmi Quraishi the Founder of ZMQ Development and Ashoka Fellow explains the role of MIRA Channel in health education through games and storytelling, Mira Channel was implemented in India and is now being scaled in Uganda and Afghanistan.

The SBCC Summit was officially opened in the evening of day one prior to cocktail and traditional Ethiopian entertainment mainstreamed in networking, sharing knowledge in health communications, opening grounds for partnerships and collaboration.

Day two was largely exciting with day opening keynote sessions and very exciting moderated panels and presentations. The Market Fair Exhibition Hall accommodated sparse interactions during busy sessions and dense interactions during tea and lunch break. On the same day I made a poster presentation of integrating information communication technologies in ending preventable maternal deaths. Poster presentations were made in the interval of 30 minutes during tea break. The market fair exhibit hall participating organisation included; ZMQ Development, HC3, Ministry of Health Ethiopia, Johns Hopkins Center for Communications Program, Save the Children Ethiopia, PSI, JSI, fhi360, Concern Worldwide U.S, The MANOFF GROUP, The Donkey Sanctuary, Institute for Reproductive Health, Pulse, Jhpiego and among others.

ZMQ Development was one of the participating organizations with information hosted in the Market Fair Exhibition Hall.
ZMQ Development was one of the participating organizations with information hosted in the Market Fair Exhibition Hall.

In the evening of day two, HC3 introduced the new Springboard for Health Communications Professionals Android and iOS app. Out of the members who signed up at the HC3 booth, attended the launch event and made a post in Springboard prior to the event., Three randomly drawn lucky Springboard members won a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

On the 3rd and last day the town hall and closing was moderated by Kojo Lokko, Dr. Ben Lozare in his largely exciting presentation told the attendees that β€˜β€™to grow up one needs to grow down as well.’’ The SBCC Summit closed in the evening of the 3rd day however in the morning of the 4th day about 20 SBCC Practitioners visited the Wegen AIDS Talkline through a trip hosted by the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health.