A Digital Resource with the Human Touch – the Health COMpass Builds Capacity and Community

When coming up with a communication strategy, what are the key principles?

Program officer, Kenya

I receive this type of email often.  I responded with a list of about seven resources, both located in and external to the Health COMpass (now included IN the Health COMpass). This is what the Health COMpass is about  not just housing curated materials proven successful in the field, but providing the human touch  a person who will answer questions quickly and who will take the time to look for quality resources.

Media/Materials Clearinghouse © 2004 David Alexander, Courtesy of Photoshare

Social and behavior change communication (SBCC) professionals are faced with similar situations daily  a new task means finding out how to do it, where to find references and how to do all of this quickly and efficiently. Knowing there is a resource of curated materials, maintained by experienced people who care and want to help, makes the Health COMpass different  it’s more than just a database.

In fact, this web-based resource began off-line in the early 1980s with the creation of the Media/Materials Clearinghouse (M/MC), through the Population Communication Services project. It evolved over the next three decades in terms of size (over 12,000 materials!) and technology as the collection transitioned to digital media and went through various iterations in subsequent projects, including Health Communication Partnership and C-Change.

In 2012, the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) began with a mission to create a new user-friendly, curated collection, including only materials developed via a strategic process proven to be effective in the field. Furthermore, the “human touch” was added, with the ever-present “Ask a Question” button. Users were invited to ask for specific materials  and receive a response  within 24 hours.

Package it Up

The Health COMpass supports the work of SBCC professionals and has responded to user needs over time with other special features and services:

  • Trending Topics are resource collections which can jumpstart the SBCC process for urgent or high-demand issues, such as Ebola, Zika and resource mobilization.
  • Spotlights delve deeper into specific SBCC programs, including the overall experience, the campaign timeline, implementer insights, impact results and lessons learned. For managers involved in or planning a full-scale SBCC campaign, learning about how other campaigns were managed, from concept to completion, can be invaluable.
  • HC3’s own How to Guides are the most popular offering on the Health COMpass. These one-page skill-building tools review fundamental SBCC tasks and improve the capacity of users.

In the Field: It Works! It Works!

The process of searching for a wide-variety of SBCC-related tools in one place, finding them and using them in campaign development sounds great in theory  and works in practice. Here are just a few examples:

  • Pakistan: The “How to Write a Creative Brief” guide was used to get started on a project.
  • Guatemala: A gender program found important resources on the Health COMpass for planning.
  • Cote d’Ivoire: Resources from the Health COMpass guided a workshop for designing a gender policy guideline.

What’s the Bottom Line? Users

The Health Compass is designed to be user-centric. Materials uploaded to the Health COMpass, questions from users and analytics on what users are accessing guide decision-making as to what new materials to add, and inform on which resources are most useful.

Take a look through the Health COMpass. Search for materials, and register to create and save a customized package of favorites.

Springboard Discussion with Susan Leibtag: May 15-19

Do you have a question about SBCC resources, tools and best practices? Wonder where to find good examples of design documents or how to incorporate information and communication technology into SBCC initiatives? Visit Springboard, a social network for Health Communication professionals May 15-19, 2017 and post a request for assistance. Susan Leibtag, Health COMpass curator, will help you find quality tools and resources. The discussion is now open for advance questions.

You must be a registered Springboard member to participate. To register:

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