Harrison, Meagan

Public Health

MSPH

Swaziland

Swaziland - Practice Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) Swaziland

The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) Swaziland is a four-year project funded by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Swaziland. The project will run from 1 October, 2013, to 30 September, 2017, with the overall objective of strengthening the capacity of communities in Swaziland to prevent and mitigate the effects of HIV. The project has four key results areas: Strengthened community capacity to address HIV transmission from mother to child; Strengthened capacity for social and behavior change communication (SBCC) among individuals and organizations; Increased access and utilization of HIV and social services among female sex workers (FSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM) populations; and Strengthened community capacity to address the health, development, and safety of young orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).

Global Health Mentor: Mkandawire Glory

Interning at HC3

As a Global Health Established Field Placement Awardee, I was an intern at the Health Community Capacity Collaborative (HC3) in Mbabane, Swaziland in June and July 2014. 

HC3

HC3 is an entity of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communications Programs that serves as a capacity building organization in order to address and prevent HIV in Swaziland. The project focuses on three levels: organizational, individual and national. HC3 supports skills-strengthening for audiences including program managers, journalists, video and radio producers, health workers and counselors, health education units and local government staff in each country in which it operates.

My Role

During my time at HC3, I contributed to the project in a variety of ways. My scope of work included working with the community engagement team to help implement a workshop in which community partners came together to define an approach for community engagement in order to work within communities in Swaziland to prevent HIV and move forward with USAID’s new minimum prevention package requirements as well as the National Strategic Framework (NSF) for addressing HIV in Swaziland.  The workshop was centered on the Community Action Cycle, and the community partners adapted it to become the Community Engagement Cycle.

Following the successful workshop, I was tasked with the responsibility of writing the first draft of the Community Engagement Cycle Facilitator’s Guide so that community partners could have a tool to effectively implement the CEC. As part of the facilitator’s guide, I created and/or adapted over 20 SBCC tools for use in community engagement trainings that the guide supports. These tools were included in the appendices of the facilitator’s guide.

Additional responsibilities and deliverables at HC3 included designing and creating a resource center at the HC3 office in Mbabane where important SBCC tools, handbooks, and important information could be easily found and utilized by members of the office and others working on HC3 projects.  I also worked with the Key Populations team to create a handful of designs for communications materials geared towards MSM and FSW populations. I used Adobe Photoshop to design both certificates of participation for the team’s HIV training workshop as well as the artwork for the team’s HIV-awareness playing cards.

Purpose of Internship

This internship was conducted in order to fulfill the fieldwork requirements for my MSPH in the International Health department, in the Social and Behavioral Interventions track.In the past, I have had experience in community engagement and community based methods for research and intervention implementation working in smaller NGOs and independently in Asia and Latin America. Working at HC3 was an opportunity to see how community engagement is being implemented by a larger organization, on a national scale, in a new region of the world.

While working in community-based methods was not new to me, I was able to gain experience working on a new health issue and in a new region of the world. This was the first time I had the opportunity to work on HIV/AIDS and the first time I was able to travel to Africa. As such, this internship was an opportunity to blend my past experiences in community engagement with new theoretical knowledge gained from my coursework at Bloomberg to work on a new health issue in a new environment, allowing for a constructive and productive period of academic, professional, and personal growth. 

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