The Zambia Ministry of Health’s Deputy Director of Health Promotion, Environment and Social Determinants, Dr. Wezy Kaonga, recently shared that social and behavior change communication (SBCC) should mean much more than billboards, posters and leaflets, TV and radio spots. “As much as these have their role as well, it is time for the SBCC community to think strategically and learn from global examples on what else can work in today’s environment within the Zambian context”.
To help meet this challenge, Springboard Zambia launched on May 11, 2017, with approximately 40 people in attendance from 24 different organizations representing the government, donors and civil society. The launch of Springboard in Zambia provides provide the SBCC fraternity in Zambia a platform to discuss SBCC related issues and solicit for technical guidance where need arises along with the ability to connect with a global community of health communication practitioners.
The event was facilitated by Johans Mtonga, Director of the Zambia Center for Communication Programs (ZCCP), a local NGO that focuses on SBCC.
The gathering was welcomed by Mrs. Rose Masilani, Chief Communication Officer for Social Development. She was followed by Ms. Loyce Munthali, Family Planning Advisor from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). While many factors contribute to challenges faced by Zambia’s health sector, Ms. Munthali noted, a set of complex cultural dynamics also cause many Zambians to routinely practice behaviors that lead to adverse health outcomes, which highlights the importance of SBCC initiatives. She emphasized that “[Springboard] is meant to bring together the network of practitioners to help all of us do better work. In addition, we are able to share, learn and connect with one another so that we can help answer other people’s questions and ask questions ourselves to this vast network.”
Mr. Mulonda Mate then formally launched Springboard Zambia, on behalf of Dr. Kennedy Malama, the Ministry of Health’s Director of Health Promotion, Environment and Social Determinants. Mr. Mate stated, reading Dr. Malama’s remarks, “I hope our community of social and behavior change practitioners will now join in, network better with each other and with their colleagues in the rest of the world.” Click here to view Mr. Mulonda Mate’s full opening statement.
Over the hour that followed, Ms. Uttara Bharath Kumar, the Director of Capacity Implementation for the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3), shared a presentation on HC3 Tools and Materials and facilitated a discussion. Among the important health areas addressed by HC3 within the tool kit are family planning, reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, HIV and AIDS, Ebola, malaria, Zika, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. She encouraged the SBCC community to get acquainted with the tools and see how they can be localized to suit the Zambia context.
Henry Mashoka of ZCCP shared his thoughts by saying, “Today was a very special day as Zambia – the Springboard Zambia launch will offer a platform for all SBCC specialist to up the game and am hopeful that we conduct business ‘unusual’. I, for one, feel advantaged with this platform as I know I will be linked with others around the world and perfect the art of SBCC.”