Conceptualizing Community Mobilization for HIV Prevention: Implications for HIV Prevention Programming in the African Context

November 2013 - Structural Prevention

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Lippman, S.A., Maman, S., MacPhail, C., et al. PLOS One (October 2013), Vol. 8 No. 10, p. e78208.

The authors classified key domains of community mobilization (CM) and applied them to the South African context to guide CM efforts, particularly within HIV prevention programs. First, they synthesized literature from various disciples and hypothesized six CM domains: shared concern, critical consciousness/community sensitization, organizational structure/networks, leadership, collective actions, and shared cohesion. Secondly, to explore the relevance of these domains to CM processes in South Africa, they conducted qualitative research with 64 community members in a rural setting where an HIV prevention trial that includes a CM intervention is underway. Findings showed that most of the domains were relevant with little adaptation to CM processes in South Africa. For instance, addressing challenges required leadership and promotion of critical consciousness, collective action, and community dialogue. Two domains— organizations/networks and social cohesion—were not as applicable in this context and would require some adaptation. For instance, community networks tended to be family-based. The authors suggested that interventions should focus on CM objectives simultaneously with program objectives. In similar contexts, HIV programs that include CM should re-frame HIV as a community rather than individual concern, and implementers should identify ways to promote leadership. The authors plan to validate these domains during this trial by monitoring changes in gender norms and HIV prevention behaviors, and are validating measurements of CM domains for use as evaluation tools.

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