The Ambassador Program

An innovative approach to teaching healthy behaviors.

Behavior Change Communications in the DRC

DR Congo is a difficult setting to implement a communications program. Only 4% of ASSP beneficiary households own a telephone and 6% of women listen to the radio. IMA developed a strategy to communicate via movie nights in ASSP health centers, schools, and churches. During these movie nights, original media created by IMA staff was shown including instructional videos and entertaining short films. All of the videos were overdubbed into the three regional languages: Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba. ASSP also partnered with Girl Rising to show its films on girl’s education.

Only 4% of rural households own a telephone and 6% of women listen to the radio.

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2,034

movie nights were hosted in four out of five assisted provinces during the nine-month program.

Each movie night received an average of 350 attendees, for a total of over 700,000 views.

Our approach to behavior change communications

ASSP conducted extensive research to gain a better understanding of its communications needs, including qualitative and quantitative studies on beneficiaries’ understanding of health practices and communication channels used.

ASSP hired and trained 34 Ambassadors locally in four out five assisted provinces. In addition to being trained on the basics of hosting movie nights in villages, the Ambassadors were also trained on how to conduct simple focus group research and data collection using ODK on Android smartphones. The Ambassadors were supplied with portable projectors, speakers, Android phones and motorcycles. They traveled each day to a new health area, hosting one movie night per night and, together, covering all of ASSP’s assisted health areas each month.

 

ASSP’s communication team worked vigorously to create and supply the Ambassadors with new, original media each month, including tutorials on nutrition and breastfeeding, entertainment education short films on lifesaving healthy behaviors, and documentaries on successful interventions through out ASSP project areas. Aside from the original media, ASSP also partnered with Girl Rising to show its films on the importance of girl’s education.

Each night the Ambassadors completed a report using ODK. Theses reports included never before captured GPS coordinates for ASSP health centers as well as data on the number of attendees, demographics of particpants and crowd reactions. The Ambassadors were also asked to perform focus groups and surveys of participants to allow ASSP to maintain a clear understanding of whether or not the media was communicating successfully.

Media Messaging

Twenty original videos were produced in Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba, including two documentaries, two public service announcements, and 16 short films.

Malaria

Key messages: use bed nets every night, nets are not hot, seek care as soon as symptoms arise, every child deserves treatment.

Nutrition

Key messages: make weaning foods with local ingredients, only feed breastmilk for the first six months, benefits of colostrum.

WASH

Key messages: using soap protects from sickness which saves time and money, always boil drinking water, wash hands before every meal.

Family Planning

Key messages: space births by at least two years, choose modern methods of contraception.

Service Utilization

Key messages: seek treatment within 72 hours of rape, when in doubt visit the health center, benefits of community health endowments.

Girls Education

Key messages: IMA partnered with Girl Rising to show its film about nine girls overcoming adversity to obtain an education.

Key Achievements

700,000 views

From July of 2016 to March of 2017, a total of 2,034 movie nights were held. Each movie night received an average of 350 attendees, for a total of over 700,000 views in this time period.

mapping

IMA’s Ambassadors used ODK software to collect event data and mapped 97% of project health areas in provinces where the program was implemented.

far reaching

In a survey of 5% of the population in Nord Ubangi, 15% of households reported attending at least one movie night and in four health zones attendance reached over 20%. Of the households that reported attending, 92% were able to correctly recall movie night messaging three months after the most recent campaign had ended.

message recall

The same survey revealed that 92% of those who attended a movie night were able to correctly recall media messaging.

Map of Movie Nights by Region

read more about our work to teach healthy behaviors

Publications

Behavior Change Communication

Ambassador Program Brochure – September 2019 (English version) (version française)

Girl Rising, ASSP-ENGAGE Final Report – March 2017 (pdf)