NBCC is back, ready to activate with Amref Health Africa as part of HBCC 2

Prof Myriam Sidibe, co-founder of NBCC and now NBCC’s Secretariat Chair, shares some reflections
July 20, 2022
Fig.1 Prof Myriam Sidibe, co-founder of NBCC and NBCC’s Secretariat Chair

1. What is NBCC and why is it re-launching?

Officially launched on 16 March 2020, the National Business Compact on Coronavirus (NBCC) was set up to respond to the complex, rapid onset emergency and systemic shock of the recently announced COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya, and later Uganda and Tanzania. The Hygiene and Behavior Change Coalition 1 (HBCC 1), a global coalition and partnership by Unilever and FCDO (UK’s Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office), was created to limit the spread of COVID-19 in low-and -middle-income countries. NBCC, in partnership with Amref Health Africa, was a key activator of HBCC 1 in Kenya, and later Uganda and Tanzania.

NBCC is a concept that is hosted by Brands on a Mission, a B-Corp founded by me that is working to get more companies and brands to accelerate their impact in health and well-being.  

In the third year of the pandemic, and with self-protective hygiene behaviours and vaccinations still essential to protecting lives and livelihoods amidst new SARS COV-2 variants, HBCC 2 is being launched. This time around, NBCC is once again partnering with Amref. Amref-NBCC's goal is to drive scale, reaching more communities and populations across Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, doing so in an inclusive way. This mobilisation ambitiously targets at least 75 million people in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania by April 2023.

2. Who is funding HBCC 2 and who raised the grant?

HBCC 2 project is jointly funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and Unilever.

Amref Health Africa in collaboration with Brands on a Mission raised the grant.

3. What are the focus areas of Amref-NBCC as part of HBCC 2?

To ensure we build on the efforts and achievements made previously, Amref-NBCC intends to mount a second more wide-scale mass and digital campaign, utilising (and updating where necessary) the PASSWORD campaign assets developed by Unilever in HBCC 1. On-ground behaviour change programmes and strengthening of WASH infrastructure will also continue. The four main objectives are:

1. To promote hygiene, public health, and social measures by reaching at-risk, vulnerable populations in targeted areas through mass and digital media, hence limiting rapid spread of new SARS-COV-2 variants

2. To improve personal & environmental hygiene, through interpersonal communication and an enabling environment for WASH  

3. To improve vaccination uptake by incorporating vaccination messages with hygiene messaging  

4. To strengthen health systems for sustained hygiene, and prevention and control of COVID-19

4. Three years after the beginning of the pandemic how do we handle the apathy and behavioural fatigue that has set in?

It is understandable that we are experiencing both pandemic and behavioural fatigue. However, in the context of low vaccination rates on the African continent, and the continuous mutation of SARS CoV-2, we must find new ways to push the message of hygiene and self-protective social behaviours. HBCC 2 will seek to refresh public commitment with innovative and engaging campaign materials.

Beyond refreshing Unilever’s PASSWORD campaign assets from HBCC 1, Amref-NBCC will scale up the innovative approaches that emerged and were published at the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub. This includes the use of social media influencers, social mural art & illustrations, puppet edutainment and mobile technologies.

The messaging we are pushing is that protecting the health of our communities and families is in our hands. We are reminding people that simple personal behaviours like washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing indoors and in crowded spaces will help enable us to continue living our normal lives.

5. You have incorporated Uganda and Tanzania into Amref-NBCC's mobilisation as part of HBCC 2, how do you propose working across these three countries and what impact do you expect from this engagement?

While Kenya is quite dominant from a media and resources perspective, we plan to approach the three countries with the same level of pragmatism and enthusiasm. We will be adjusting our communications to ensure they are sensitive to and account for the different COVID-19 contexts in each of the three countries.

Our core means of mobilising involves engaging a wide range of partners from both the public and private sectors. By tapping into the best that each sector has to offer, we will be able to innovatively drive our messaging and inclusively expand our reach. One of the keys to the success of HBCC 2 is working with local partners who best understand the demographics of these countries.

We are also putting digital front and center and working with some of the latest companies in Kenya that can target populations with savvy and inclusive digital influencing. We will be introducing you to our innovative mix of digital partners over the coming weeks!

One addition to NBCC this time around is that we have team members on ground in Uganda and Tanzania. They are responsible for bringing on, coordinating private sector partners, and liaising directly with their Amref counterparts to strengthen our engagement in these countries where we wouldn’t otherwise have direct on-ground presence.

We will also be organising monthly virtual and in-person meetings with existing and new partners to ensure alignment with our mission and our goals. This will enable us to continuously track our progress and achievements.

We are optimistic that HBCC 2 will achieve our ambitious goal of reaching 75 million people in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania by April 2023.

6. What does it take to get stakeholders in 3 countries to successfully collaborate and drive real cohesive impact?

Firstly, alignment of vision is key. All stakeholders must buy into the vision and ensure that any potential conflicts of interest are addressed up-front and in a transparent manner. Secondly, accountability is vital. It must be clear from the get-go what the deliverables and value-add of each stakeholder is. They must monitor and regularly report on their progress towards their goals, documenting and disseminating key lessons learned. Lastly, all partners should work to limit bureaucratic processes to facilitate smooth collaboration as well as agility and capacity to respond to evolving needs.

7. Where does Brands on a Mission fit within this Amref-NBCC partnership?

Compared to HBCC 1, NBCC will be operating in a more formalised manner, steered by the NBCC Secretariat. This NBCC Secretariat is being hosted and managed by Brands on a Mission Ltd. It will be chaired by myself in my capacity as Chief Mission Officer at Brands on a Mission. Our key role is being the convener for HBCC 2 in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Other responsibilities include providing strategic leadership and coordination support, technical assistance, and facilitating the visibility and amplification of HBCC's programme of work.

NBCC’s key partner, Amref Health Africa, is responsible for the overall implementation, roll out and reporting of the project, coordinating partner selection and management, among other roles.

8. Do you have any other expectations for the partners and target audience?

NBCC is not simply a repeat of where we were in 2020. We have big ambitions for the role of NBCC in working with existing partners and bringing new partners and new funding on board. We want to create a model of how multi-stakeholder partnerships can successfully tackle urgent public health and well-being issues.

As far as the audience, HBCC 2 is for everyone. With the support of our partners like Rotary and the Peter Ojiambo Foundation, we are placing a greater emphasis on reaching the most vulnerable populations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania including people living with disabilities, mothers, children, and young people.


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