When Springboard for Health Communication launched its virtual community earlier this month for social and behavior change communication (SBCC) professionals, several in-person launches took place around the world as well. Now more than 900-members strong, Springboard is not just for online discussions and more face-to-face launches are planned. Here’s some highlights of what happened at the first three:
The Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Services (SAfAIDS) organized a Springboard launch event in Zimbabwe on May 6, 2014. Sixty health communication practitioners attended this learning forum that featured a panel discussion on Using Social Media for Advocacy in Zimbabwe. Presenters included Nigel Mugamu, creator of 263Chat, which is described as a crowdsourcing platform for Zimbabweans to discuss Zimbabwean national issues. Also participating was Fungai Machirori, founder of Her Zimbabwe, another social media platform focused on women’s issues. A Zimbabwe-specific group for SBCC is now available on Springboard.
The Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP) organized the Bangladesh Springboard launch on May 8, 2014, in Dhaka, with about 335 health communication practitioners. The event started with an hour-long informal networking session during which 175 participants registered on the virtual platform. This was followed by presentations on topics such as the benefit of technology in communication and networking. Melissa Jones, Director of OPHNE/USAID Bangladesh, delivered the keynote address about the importance of a health communication professional network. Participants included the Bangladeshi Ministry of Health staff, University lecturers, NGO staff, district health education officers, family welfare volunteers, health journalists, other media practitioners, and advertising and PR practitioners Bangladesh already has an SBCC Technical Working Group (TWG) that can be leveraged by Springboard.
Nigeria’s Springboard for Health and Social Development Communication launched May 9, 2014, in Abuja. The Center for Communication Programs Nigeria (CCPN) organized the event. It began with a discussion of Security and Social Health Programming, where participants shared first-hand experiences of security issues related to the implementation of health communication projects in areas of Nigeria that are experiencing unrest. This was followed by the introduction of the Springboard concept and a virtual tour of the online platform. Sixty-six health and social development communication practitioners from NGOs, Federal Ministry of Health, media organizations, advertising agencies and production houses attended the event.
A Lagos Springboard forum is scheduled to take place later this month.