The programme is co-funded by DFID and USAID, amongst others, and is implemented by UNICEF and the Congolese Ministry of Health. MDF Training & Consultancy is under contract with UNICEF.
Although from 2008 - 2013 UNICEF and the DRC government successfully declared 1375 villages “healthy”, only 2% of these villages have maintained the “healthy village” status. It has been recognised that sustaining behavioural change is a challenge and another approach to build capacity is needed.
The programme’s first phase was geared towards emergency response and focused on water delivery. The second phase strategy has a more holistic approach to WASH, and is based on capacity building of actors and facilitators at all levels as well as the empowerment of local communities to lead the process. In 2013, UNICEF and the Ministry of Health recognized the need for all programme facilitators to have both hard and soft skills, such as training on social science and participatory approaches, creating specific curricula for facilitators and acquiring skills based on “fun theory” as developed by Toscan. This is done through training events, coaching and monitoring of behavioural change.
In 2013 MDF Training & Consultancy embarked in this challenging programme with 12 local trainers and successfully introduced an innovative participatory training methodology and coaching strategy to ensure sustainability. We played a key role in developing the coaching strategy, new facilitation techniques material, and the training curriculum on behavioural change. We introduced and tested ‘new’ approaches to the programme, including facilitation techniques based on experiential learning and the use of Venn diagrams.
Since 2013, we have trained 30 provincial trainers and facilitators who then trained more than 400 health support teams at (local) district level. The support team of UNICEF is being coached by MDF Training & Consultancy on how to maintain community engagement in the programme and obtain results in terms of WASH behavioural changes. Activities so far have resulted in 2000 villages in East DRC being declared ”healthy”, with inhabitants of now living in healthier environments.