For this blog, I am talking to Grâce Françoise Nibizi, the founder and Executive Director of SaCoDé. SaCoDé is the Association for the Promotion of Communities Health for Development (in French : l’Association pour la promotion de la Santé des Communautés pour le Développement) in Burundi.
In 2016, SaCoDé – in collaboration with Village Health Works and HealthNet TPO – was awarded a Share-Net International Small Grant for its project titled “Responsive collaboration between actors promoting SRH for adolescents and young people”. The aim of this project was to identify best practices for collaboration between the different actors in the field in order to make SRH interventions and promotion activities more responsive to the needs of adolescents and young people.
SaCoDé is a Burundian non-profit organisation. Their mandate is to promote communities’ health through information, education and sensitisation on good practices leading to health and development, so that communities enjoy healthy lives and live life positively. The organisation was founded in 2011 and has since been working on six main programmes, focusing on menstrual health, education on SRHR, the provision of SRHR services, youth and women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, and hygiene and WASH in schools. Read more about SaCoDé and their work here.
The main objective of this small grant was to identify good collaboration practices between different actors in the field in order to make SRH interventions and promotion activities more effective and responsive to the needs of young people and adolescents.
Grace Francoise Nibizi explains: “Even if the Ministry of Health has established a very nice strategy on how young people can have access to SRH information and services, we learned that the whole system was broken because there were no communication between parents and young people, and teachers who are supposed to help the young people to have access to those services.”
By mapping all actors involved in providing and promoting SRHR services in Bubanza, including their best practices and platforms they use to collaborate, SaCoDé was able to come up with recommendations on strategies that stimulate the synergies among the different actors. They organised different meetings to disseminate these best practices and involved all stakeholders in order to improve SRH services for young people and adolescents. Read all results of the study here.
Four years after the project, we are wondering what impact this project has made in the provision and promotion of SRH interventions for young people and adolescents in Burundi. Nibizi explains that it is difficult to say if things have really changed without doing another study. “For the moment, I have really heard that things were being changed, but to tell you that things have really changed in the field, I would be lying, because another study needed to be done to see that.”, Nibizi elaborates.
The project, however, has enabled SaCoDé to change their ways of working. Nibizi clarifies: “I’m so grateful to Share-Net for the grant which allowed us to do this study because it reminded us of the importance of collaboration between different stakeholders involved in youth and adolescents SRH Education. We know that it is important to involve local leaders, teachers, parents, those working in the health centres, and brothers and sisters in everything we do if we really want to have a successful result. We also know that it is very important to have the same understanding with all the SRH actors in the field of what we want to do and the goals we want to achieve. Otherwise, it would just be going in the field and not getting any results.”
She explains that if you do not involve all actors and get buy-in at the beginning of a programme, the results will be short-term and will not be sustainable. “We could see that there are so many actors in the field but there is a disconnection with what they are doing. So it’s really hard to see the end results”, Nibizi explains. “It’s good to have this collaboration and this connection between all actors doing any activities on the same beneficiaries, so in the end, we have a good result.”
Nibizi proudly tells that the study has helped SaCoDé to receive other grants. She tells: “Now at SaCoDé, we have changed how we are doing things and I think the majority of donors really like when you have a baseline study, and you say this is the impact I am looking for and this is how I am going to measure it.”
Nibizi explains that she liked the small grants application process: “The process of the small grant was not very heavy as the ones from other donors here. It was really light and there was a good collaboration on all levels. It was a very nice experience.” She would, therefore, without any doubt, advise other Share-Net members to apply.
Do you want to learn more about the Share-Net International Small Grants Facility and how to apply? Click here.