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close this bookSocial Mobilization for Reproductive Health (CEDPA, 2000, 160 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction: Social Mobilization for Reproductive Health
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentHow To Use This Manual
View the documentWorkshop Overview
View the documentSample Workshop Schedule
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION ONE: Welcome and Setting the Stage
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION TWO: Defining Social Mobilization
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION THREE: Introduction to Coalitions
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION FOUR: Defining the Issue
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION FIVE: Coalition Building
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION SIX: Mobilizing for Equity: Gender and Reproductive Health Considerations
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION SEVEN: Developing a Plan of Action for Social Mobilization Coalitions
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION EIGHT: Enabling Change Through Understanding the Audience and Environment
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION NINE: Developing and Delivering the Message
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION TEN: Measuring Results of Social Mobilization
Open this folder and view contentsSESSION ELEVEN: Putting the Components Together for a Social Mobilization Campaign
View the documentSESSION TWELVE: Closing
View the documentBibliography

How To Use This Manual

This is a manual for conducting a workshop on the fundamentals of social mobilization for reproductive health. As a whole, the 12 workshop sessions provide participants with:

· A theoretical framework for social mobilization
· A systematic approach to planning, implementing, and monitoring a campaign
· Exposure to key skills
· Opportunities to apply and practice the skills

Participants will undoubtedly come from a variety of professional backgrounds. It is assumed that many will have carried out aspects of social mobilization before: community mobilization, advocacy, behavior change communication, or social marketing. The workshop provides a framework for sharing and learning from one another and combining these components to achieve social mobilization.

This is an introductory workshop designed to fit within a five-day period. Although the manual is designed to stand alone, a list of other manuals pertaining to social mobilization and its elements, as well as other organizations that work in social mobilization, can be found in the Bibliography at the end of the manual.


The workshop is designed ideally for a small group (25 or fewer) of NGO managers and senior field workers. There should be at least two and preferably more people from every organization - even if ongoing coalitions have formed and the organization is represented in the coalition - to ensure that ideas and momentum generated in the workshop have a solid foothold and support at home. Some participants will come to the workshop with a social mobilization initiative in mind. In this case, they should be asked to prepare basic information in advance, so that they can work on their issue in the workshop (see Session Four).


This manual is intended for trainers who have prior experience in facilitating participatory workshops using adult learning methods. It is designed so that the trainers need not be experts in social mobilization, though experience in a related sector and a good understanding of reproductive health issues in the local development context is highly desirable. Trainers may wish to read some of the background literature cited in the Bibliography before they conduct the training.

Trainers who can model the type of motivating behavior that mobilizers seek to stimulate (participatory, collective, creative, dynamic) will be modeling an important value of social mobilization. Trainers need to be able to maintain control of the time during long sessions, while at the same time encouraging creativity and a warm, supportive atmosphere.

Team training, preferably with trainers from complementary backgrounds, is highly recommended for this workshop, as is hiring a full-time workshop secretary who can capture and reproduce the work by the participants.


The workshop begins with definitions and theory; trainers encourage participants to provide examples from their own lives. Next comes a systematic approach to planning a social mobilization movement, building competence by drawing on definitions and frameworks, and applying those to a case study through the sessions.

Each session in this manual outlines the objectives of that session for the participants, sets a time frame for the session, provides an overview of what the session will cover, lists the materials required and any handouts, and alerts trainers to special preparation required for that session. Handouts that are easily photocopied can be found at the end of each session.


A Sample Workshop Schedule is included near the end of this section of the manual. It is up to each trainer to develop a schedule to fit his or her specific workshop. The workshop schedule should include at least three breaks each day: one for lunch, and 15 minutes in the middle of the morning and the afternoon. It is best to plan breaks after processing an exercise so that participants do not process informally with one another during the break. Some sessions may not end at the end of the day, so it is important to begin the next day with a short review of where the group left off the day before. This will help maintain the flow of training and serve as a means to bring participants together and to the subject at hand.


Four primary training methods are used in this workshop: brainstorming, metaplan, case studies, and tasks.

BRAINSTORMING is used extensively to allow the wealth of life and work experience to be shared. Brainstorming is a highly effective and engaging way for adults to learn, allowing many ideas to be shared in a short period of time. Note-taking on flipchart paper is important in brain-storming sessions, both to acknowledge participant contributions and to record key points.

METAPLAN is a technique for organizing a variety of ideas or definitions in a participatory way. Individually, in response to a specific question, participants are asked to jot down ideas, words, or phrases on individual cards or pieces of paper. They then work in small groups to cull, group, and select the best ideas until the trainer asks the groups to present their cards to the whole group. The trainer organizes the cards in front of the group, until all the ideas are displayed. This is a quick way of focusing a brainstorming session. It is useful in cases where there may be a greater diversity of responses.

The CASE STUDY used in this manual is adapted from an actual project. Case study sessions should begin with instructions: "Based on the information you have in the case..." and avoid "what if" and "but if" sidetracking.

TASKS are assignments for the whole group or smaller groups. Many of the activities in this manual are designed to be done in groups. You may either write the task on a flipchart and post it on the wall, or, if the task involves many steps or answering numerous questions, you may find it useful to write the task out on individual papers and give a separate copy to each group.


Short lectures by local leaders could complement the participatory approach of the training workshop. These talks could be scheduled in the evenings or worked into the workshop design. Speakers with practical experience in community or social mobilization, communication, advocacy in reproductive health, or related fields could provide a real-life backdrop to the course. Trainers are advised to work with speakers to make sure their presentations are short and focused enough to be relevant to the workshop content. An inspiring speaker can motivate participants; a boring speaker can dampen the mood of the whole workshop. Enough time should be allowed for questions.

Although check-ins have not been scheduled formally into the workshop, trainers may consider them. If everyone is given two or three minutes at the beginning of each day to share feelings, feedback, and concerns, whether related or unrelated to the course, a bonding and friendship within the group can be fostered.

Mood monitoring involves selecting one or two participants each day to monitor the energy level of the group. These participants will be responsible for leading the group in a song, dance, or exercise at least once during the day when they feel the energy is lagging. This gives these participants a role to play and makes them sensitive to how others are engaging in the workshop process.


One of the goals of the workshop is to generate energy and a sense of common cause among the members. Mobilization can be a roller-coaster experience with exhilarating successes and depressing disappointments. Ideally, the "time out" that the workshop allows, as well as the possibility of establishing a supportive network of mobilizers, will help those engaged in social mobilization to maintain their commitment, stamina, and vision.


Reproductive health issues touch at the core of private and sometimes taboo cultural beliefs and behaviors. Social mobilization offers the possibility for effecting transformation in people's values, attitudes, and behaviors, sometimes at a very personal level. For the mobilizer, the potential for individual resistance and individual growth in the process of working for collective change is significant. Trainers must be ready to work with workshop participants to clarify their own values, listen to one another, and be mindful of the values underlying their work at each step of the process. While only the introductory session deals directly with this process, it is an important consideration in the preparation and facilitation of the entire workshop.


Each session has some or all of the following components:

TITLE - identifies the main topic of the session.

LEARNER OBJECTIVES - describe what participants will be able to do by the end of the session in order to demonstrate increased knowledge, improved skills, or changed attitudes. The trainer should write the learner objectives on a flipchart before each session, and should open each session by reviewing the learner objectives.

TIME - indicates the approximate duration of the session, assuming 20 participants.

SESSION OVERVIEW - provides a breakdown of the session into sub-activities, including approximate times.

MATERIALS - list the materials required for the session. Please read these carefully as you do your session planning. Having the appropriate materials assembled before you begin is essential to having a successful workshop. Throughout the workshop, all participants will need paper and pens for taking notes and for participating in some of the specific tasks. This is not specified in the materials lists for individual sessions.

HANDOUTS - list the handouts required for the session. These handouts can be found in this manual at the end of each session and should be reproduced for all participants, except for handouts that are designated as trainer resources. Trainer resources are intended to provide background information to the trainer and need not be distributed.

STEPS - are the facilitation instructions for conducting the session. Most sessions are built upon the four components of the experiential learning cycle: experience, reflection, generalization, and application. The experience is an exercise or participatory presentation in which information is presented for discussion and learning. Reflection helps participants think about, analyze new information, and develop their own ideas about a topic. Generalization allows participants to draw broad conclusions and lessons learned about the new information. Application enables them to visualize how they may apply their new knowledge and/or skills in the future.

FLIPCHART - is the symbol that denotes information that is most effective when presented or captured on a flipchart.

NOTES TO THE TRAINER - are highlighted by a symbol in the margin. They may include background notes or alternative ways to manage a particular activity. You should read the manual and the notes before you begin the workshop to be sure you have everything required for the sessions. Read specific Notes to the Trainer before a session starts and keep them in front of you during workshop sessions to remind you of important points.

PREPARATION - indicates any arrangements the trainer needs to make before the session.