Informed decisions for actions in maternal and newborn health

Community Mobilization Project

Community Mobilization Project

Self Help Group in Uttar Pradesh © Community Mobilization projectThe Uttar Pradesh Community Mobilization Project aims to develop and scale-up a package of family health innovations through self help groups in Uttar Pradesh. The innovations aim to improve the survival of newborn babies and family health behaviours.

The project is funded between 2011 – 2015 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by a consortium led by the Public Health Foundation of India. Other consortium members are Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana, Community Empowerment Lab, Population Council and Centre for Global Health and Development.

Read the June 2013 Community Mobilization project newsletter

Go to the Community Mobilization project website

Using self help groups to scale-up health innovations

Despite the existence of many proven life-saving interventions to improve the health outcomes of women and babies, there are few community-based innovations which take these interventions to scale rapidly and sustainably.

The self help group model is a promising platform through which life-saving interventions could reach women and babies on a large scale. The Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana, a rights-based organisation, organises a federation of self help groups (10-20 rural women) that act as social platforms to address issues of financial inclusion, healthcare, livelihoods, education and the environment. The wide reach of these groups holds tremendous promise as a platform for community mobilization.

In using the self help group structure, the Uttar Pradesh Community Mobilization Project will reach out to 1.2 million poor households in Uttar Pradesh (based on March 2013 figures).

Delivering innovations

The Uttar Pradesh Community Mobilization Project will use self help groups to deliver innovations that change family health behaviours. The project also aims to improve access of health services through establishing strong links with the health system at a local level.

Innovations include:

  • Create new self help groups and their federations

This innovation follows the Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana approach to establishing self help groups, modified to reduce the time needed for the groups to be fully functioning.

  • Self help groups contact with pregnant women

Innovation to raise awareness of newborn care in the community, identify pregnant women (both self help group members and non-members) and link them with the self help group federation.

  • Enhanced access to local health services

Innovation to enhance access to local health services. To enhance accountability of providers at the village and block level.

  • Behaviour change management package

This innovation layers a health intervention on newly-created and existing self help groups in the project area. It is an approach, driven by self help group members, to reach out to all families to improve neonatal and maternal care, to enhance skills and motivation and to provide an enabling environment.