Traversing Kenya with the Amref Hygiene and Behaviour Change Communication teams you can’t fail to notice Kenya’s beauty and the stark inter-county differences. From fauna and flora, dress code, attitudes, local delicacies and even the weather varies greatly with probably the only constant being the content of the Mums Magical Hands (MMH) training.
Designed to encourage hand washing with soap at key times in emergency MMH was developed out of a need to better understand the emotional motivators and barriers to hand washing in emergency contexts, with the aim of developing a behaviour change programs that could be used in any emergency context. It thus offers a suite of promotional activities designed to increase the practice of hand washing with soap.
Having been part of the sessions in Mombasa, Kwale, Homa Bay and Migori counties you can’t fail to notice the repertoire of tools the trainers use to deliver their messages to Community Health Volunteers (CHVs). Armed with a storyboard and being able to articulate the theory elements, the Amref trainers localize their interactions to best suit their diverse audiences with role playing manifesting during the latest sessions in Kakamega County.
Defined as the practice of having participants take on specific roles (usually ones in which they are not familiar with) and act them out in a case based scenarios for the purpose of learning, role playing allows for the trainees immerse themselves into scenarios and learn from them.
Amref’s Moses Lengewa terms role playing as the most interesting and interactive part of the training because the participants are very vibrant and eager to participate while giving experiences and even proposing local solutions. “It gives the trainees a chance to fully interact with content and immerse themselves into the learning while gaps and new insights are highlighted for the trainers to clarify” said Lengewa. For the participants, the ability to practice MMH concepts reinforces our theory sessions that allows the trainers to gauge success and localize for the different communities we engage with.
From the role playing, one can visualize understanding and anticipate how the community will respond to different elements of the training and fine tuning can be done to correct any deviations. For Mums Magic Hands training, the very fact that the participants relate and connect with the heroism in mothers makes the role play fun, emotive and natural. This makes the content relatable and easily customized into local context because Mum’s across board, all over the world, play almost similar nurture roles and this is our key motivator in changing house hold behaviours to prevent and control COVID-19.
The sessions in Kakamega County are taking place in 12 sub counties in different Community Units targeting to will see 720 CHVs and 80 of their supervisors (Community Health Extension Workers/Community Health Assistants) trained on Hygiene and Behaviour Change using Mum’s Magic Hands (MMH) approach. Done jointly with collaboration with the Kakamega County government’s department of Health, the sessions come at a time when Covid-19 numbers continued to increase. The County Health officials led by County Director of Health, Dr. John Otieno lauded these sessions as timely because the county expects an influx of city dwellers for the Christmas celebrations while ensuring infection numbers remain down.