| Apr 28, 2016
Training is key to ensure the success of a women's listening group
Another consignment of Lifeplayers is arriving in Zambia during May for distribution to women’s listening groups in the Eastern Province. This is more complex than it might seem! First, they have to clear customs and then training sessions need to be organised in the rural areas prior to the distribution of our Lifeplayers.
One of the keys to the success of any listening group is training: our experience over many years has repeatedly shown that this is a vital part of any project. Training covers not only how to use and maintain the Lifeplayer, but also how to form, facilitate and manage a group to maximise discussion and debate. We’ve also found that the best time to set up monitoring and evaluation is at the initial listening group training.
We do our best to ensure that our products are never just given away or handed out. Community involvement is paramount to ensure that the Lifeplayer's potential is maximised. Recipients also sign an agreement outlying their roles and responsibilities on behalf of their group. These agreements are written in local languages and read aloud to ensure everyone understands, irrespective of whether or not they are literate.
Working in rural areas, with women who have little access to technology, takes more time that you might think it would. An invitation to join a listening group is often sent out by foot, as many women don’t own mobile phones. Once a group of 15-20 women is established, they agree to meet at a specified place and time. They usually give themselves a name and appoint a leader and co-leader. These are the women who would typically attend training and be responsible for the Lifeplayer’s care.
The investment made in planning and training at this stage is time well spent later, and helps ensure that a listening group will continue to meet and support one another well into the future.
Given the success of and appreciation for 1,000 Days of Motherhood, the Zambian Ministry of Health is currently creating additional radio programs with their in-country partners, as there are many other health issues that still need to be addressed.
Investment in health and nutrition initiatives benefitting children can help break the cycle of poverty by supporting the physical and cognitive development that helps children learn better in school and earn higher wages in adulthood. Further, evidence shows that malnutrition and related conditions decrease a country’s GDP by 2-3% annually. 1,000 Days of Motherhood is one of the most important initiatives we’ve ever been involved in, and we remain dedicated to ensuring as many women as possible have access to the programming.
We are deeply committed to this project and hope that you will continue to help us.