Enhancing rural coverage of social marketing activities through a new model
SHOPS Plus supported CRS to implement the Remote Area Initiative (RAI), a six-year project that ended in January 2020, which promoted and created demand for family planning, and maternal and child health services in rural communities. CRS engaged community change agents to conduct health promotion and disseminate important health messages to women. Topics included the importance of antenatal check-ups and institutional delivery, health and hygiene, and uterine prolapse prevention.
Specifically, SHOPS Plus worked with CRS to design and launch the second phase of this initiative in 2018 to introduce more effective behavior change techniques, link outreach activities to community development strategies, and strengthen sustainability. The new approach was more focused on behavior change, including the timely use of data to measure progress in changing behavioral drivers. The redesigned initiative worked in four of the most remote hill districts with some of the poorest reproductive and child health indicators in Nepal. CRS tailored the revised initiative curriculum to each district as the KAP baseline survey found that community health practices differed significantly across the four districts.
To support sustained access beyond the life of the project, SHOPS Plus provided interested community change agents with a starter kit of health and hygiene products with the understanding that once they sell the starter stock, they must resupply the products and continue selling in the communities. A total of 60 community change agents from four districts volunteered to participate in the activity, and some continue to sell health commodities in their communities even after the RAI program has ended.