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Leaders for Family Health

Leaders for Reproductive Health project

This project is aimed at the improvement of reproductive health situations in northern Nigeria, especially among women and young people through leadership consensus

building; reproductive health service delivery and integrated leadership  development programmes.  This involves selecting  leaders from all works of life, equip them with reproductive health knowledge, develop their leadership skill and encourage them to form groups, become advocates for RH of young people and the family. This is aimed at developing leaders who will promote positive youth behavior and reproductive health in the society.

 


Traditional Leaders and Their Wives Promoting Family Health

The program started with the leaders in mixed population groups analysing the reproductive situation in their states using the future search technique. The definition of terms and clarification of issues on sexuality, child spacing, reproductive health, and gender was necessary at this point. They were subsequently trained on full reproductive health issues including leadership skills and issues of violence against persons. The use of group dynamics was encouraged and supported as well as step down trainings in their various communities using implementation plans developed by the leaders with follow up monitoring by AHIP.. The training was conducted in 12 northern states (Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe, Bauchi, Benue, and Jigawa.).

 

Strategies

The reproductive leaders programme was expanded to take a new dimension of training traditional leaders as advocates and supporters of reproductive health issues in their communities. The trained traditional leaders are expected to disseminate the factual information to their friends, families, and community at large.

 

Topics addressed at this training includes:  Leadership Style, Leadership and Reproductive Health, Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology; Stages of development; Sexually Transmitted Infections/ HIV/AIDS; Gender and HIV/AIDS, Drug Abuse and it’s social Implication; Communication; Child Spacing and Contraception;   Communication and Advocacy; Violence against persons; Teenage Pregnancy; Team building and problem solving; Managing change; Planning for social change; Action plan development.

 

Objective of the training includes:

  • To sensitize leaders and their wives on leadership, reproductive health and its components, male involvement in reproductive health; sex & sexuality, STIs, HIV/AIDS, gender and HIV/AIDS, importance of child spacing.
  • To form groups among Traditional leaders for advocacy on Reproductive Health (RH) in the state.
  • To identify RH issues in the state and develop strategies to address them

What Has Been Done

AHIP has over time partnered with traditional institutions in Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Benue, Bauchi, Katsina and Jigawa through advocacy, sensitization meetings and also training workshops on the issues that relate to but not limited to the following:

 

  • Capacity building training on issues relating to the wellbeing of young people especially girl child in the area of reproductive health issues and HIV/AIDS through provision of information.
  • Use of advocacy to address difficult issues like reproductive health and life planning skills.
  • Sensitise women in the community on the importance of attending antenatal clinics.
  • Traditional leaders to work with other policy makers to ensure that people stop selling illegal drugs and campaign for prevention and drug abuse reduction in communities.
  • Ensuring that educational facilities and qualified teachers are provided in our schools.
  • Using the traditional leaders to inform community members so that men will allow their women to access medical care and services in hospitals.
  • Working with other stakeholders to ensure that hospitals/dispensary are adequately equip
  • Parents should take proper care of their children, improve parent-child communication and draw them close.

Religious Leaders Promoting Family Health

Adolescent Health and Information Project (AHIP)’ contribution to the reduction of maternal and child as a youth focused development organization is to work with Imams in promoting better health and development for young people and their families. AHIP’s major focus areas are development, reproductive health, social and economic issues as it relates to young people and women in Nigeria. AHIP have worked relentlessly to break the culture of silence; create enabling environment for reproductive health, expanded the scope for young people’s health and development, and promoted leadership for integrated reproductive health, service delivery and peaceful co-existence in Northern Nigeria. Hence, the strategic work with religious leaders in nineteen in northern states of Nigeria to promotes Family Health.

 

The assumption was that the intervention with Imams would lead to attitudinal change towards the health of the family including that of mothers. Starting from the Imams to their followers, families, young people, and other community members. AHIP adopted Social Change Leadership Theory (SCLT) guided by facilitative social change leadership (FSCL). Change here means a switch or shift in the internal and external culture or environment of a social group, organization, government agency, or humanity at large. Since Social change is to bring about or transform conditions to improve the human welfare. Crawford et al (2000) examines Social Change Leadership Theory (SCLT) that is the “what, how, and why” of leadership to create change of personal, organizational, and societal by promoting the development of social change agents who address and solve community problems.

Eminent religious leader, researchers, and medical practitioners presented papers on the planed topics.  All papers presented were discussed, the new concept of ‘Open Space’ was also introduced in the last day of each workshop.  The ‘Open Space’ technique afforded participants the opportunity not only to introduce their own issues or issue they felt were not adequately addressed in the sessions  for discussion but also to be the convener and lead others in the discussion of that topic or issues without any restriction as to  topic or number of persons involved. At the end of each training session delegates wrote and adopted a communiqué in which observations were made, and resolutions passed.