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Empowering Local Partners

7 August 2018

At the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), we support many country-owned and led programmes to work towards eliminating parasitic worm infections. We work directly with Ministries of Health, who conduct the day-to-day management of programmes, with technical support from our Programme Advisors in accordance with globally recognised best practices. By supporting these programmes through training, mentorship and coaching, we ensure local ownership.

We believe that empowering local communities, rather than implementing programmes ourselves, is hugely important for the success and sustainability of programmes. Through working with in-country partners we ensure programmes are context specific and culturally sensitive, which is vital for establishing trust and legitimacy within the community. This has been particularly noted in Ethiopia where a Health Extension worker suggested that:

“Kebele [village] leadership are the most effective to deliver health messages since they lead and represent a lot of people in their community.”

Our support contributes to strengthening local health systems, incorporating sustainability initiatives to ensure that programmes are effective and long-lasting. This also makes programmes more resilient to changing donor priorities and variations in funding.

Working with and through local communities means that programmes are tailored to the local context, acceptable to the community, and timed appropriately, all of which are important to maximise uptake and impact. It also gives programmes a better chance at longevity, as countries move towards elimination of parasitic worm infections, which requires a long-term, holistic and multi-sectoral approach.

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Jennifer Burrill, Programme Advisor for Liberia and Malawi, and Carolyn Henry, Senior Programme Advisor for Ethiopia and Tanzania.