C-Change Nigeria highlights successes at dissemination meeting in Abuja
C-Change Nigeria concluded project activities with an end-of-project dissemination meeting in Abuja, Nigeria on June 26, 2014. Sixty-five participants from the donor, civil society and partner community were in attendance.
“Since its inception in 2009, C-Change has strengthened capacity and enhanced the national response to HIV, including building demand creation at community level. Before 2008, we had an HIV prevalence rate of 8%, currently Cross River has a prevalence of 7.1%. This success story is due in part to C-Change,” said Ada Eke, Cross River State HIV/AIDS Prevention point person.
Her counterpart in Kogi state, Emmanuel Boro, noted, “ …the C‑Change vision and approach to HIV prevention dramatically changed how Kogi State Agency for the Control of AIDS carried out prevention activities.” In his own speech during the meeting, Professor Etim Anim of Cross River State University of Technology emphasized that “It is without any debate that C-Change has brought something into Nigeria academics.”
The consensus from partners and stakeholders at the meeting was that the C‑Change Nigeria project successfully equipped them with new and effective approaches for preventing HIV that used social and behavior change communication (SBCC).
USAID/Nigeria Deputy Director of HIV/AIDS Office, Dr. Phillip Dayal applauded the project’s use of existing structures to lead the implementation of the framework for SBCC programs outlined in the National BCC Strategy. The Mission promised to continue building on the legacy of C-Change in collaboration with the National Association for the Control of AIDS.
Chief of Party Victor Ogbodo pointed out that C-Change Nigeria had established systems and set in place procedures, “ C-Change activities have immensely contributed to reliance on research for determining focus and design of interventions as well as emphasis on social context as an important determinant of individual behaviors.”
My Story, My Life
This booklet developed by C-Change Nigeria has two stories, one by a teenage girl and one by a teenage boy. Each incorporates questions and talking points for discussions led by youth peer facilitators on the risks of premarital sex and life skills that help young people avoid HIV infection. Topics and concepts were drawn from research on the HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and practices of in-school and out-of-school youth in Kogi and Cross River states.
HIV-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, Behaviors, and Practices of Young People in Cross River and Kogi States
C-Change/Nigeria assessed and reported on the HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices of more than 1,200 youth ages 10–24 in Cross River State and Kogi State. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews centered on youth lifestyles, risky behaviors, information and misconceptions about HIV, media habits, and recall of youth-focused HIV prevention messages and programs in the two states. The report makes note of risk factors that need to be addressed in communicating with youth about HIV and AIDS.
Strengthening SBCC Capacity in HIV Prevention
C-Change has been supporting Nigeria at the national level and in two federal states—Cross River and Kogi—to improve social and behavior change communication (SBCC) programming in HIV prevention.
To strengthen SBCC capacity, C-Change conducted assessments of 60 national and local NGOs and community-based organizations (CBOs) in mid-2009, using the C-Change SBCC Capacity Assessment Tool.
Findings from these assessments informed a 10-day training titled Communication Planning for Improved Social and Behavior Change. It was conducted in December 2009 for 24 persons from 14 implementing partners. The training is based on C-Change's SBCC modules.
Nigeria's National Framework Addresses HIV and AIDS
C-Change successfully assisted the reconstitution of the national Behavior Change Communication Technical Working Group (BCC TWG), which draws its members from individuals and national groups with BCC expertise. The BCC TWG has been repositioned to provide technical oversight to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and review the operational plan of Nigeria’s National BCC strategy. C-Change did the same at the state level with the State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA) in Cross River and with the SACA in Kogi.
This work by C-Change meshes with Nigeria’s national strategic framework to address HIV and AIDS, which calls for the adoption of innovative, evidence-based strategies for behavior change.
In 2000, Nigeria strengthened its response to HIV and AIDS with establishment of national and state action committees on AIDS. In 2007, these committees were upgraded to full government-agency status. NACA is mandated to coordinate the HIV and AIDS response at the national level. SACAs do the same at state levels and LACAs coordinate activities at local government levels.