Community Mobilization

Community Mobilization is defined as a process through which action is stimulated by a community itself, or by others, that are planned, carried out, and evaluated by a community’s individuals, groups, and organizations on a participatory and sustained basis to improve health. In addition to improving health, the community mobilization process also aims to strengthen the community’s capacity to address its health and other needs in the future. A participatory process of communities identifying and taking action on shared concerns.

Community Mobilization is also defined as process of preparing Mobilization and organizing to take action, specifically toward its own development.

Community mobilization is also defined as “effective taping of community’s resources and making the community understand about their inherent strength so that they can use their own resources in a sustained manner to ensure positive change in the living standard”. 

To conceptualize the community mobilization and participation in health sector we have to consider the concept in three phases, which are as follows:

Medical Approach whereby, health is defined as the absence of disease and community participation is seen as the measure for absence of disease.
In Health Planning Approach, Community Participation is contributed to the delivery of a health service by contributing money, materials and human resources.
In Community Development Approach, Community Participation defined as active involvement in decision making and accountability for programs. It is best seen as a process rather than outcome.

Community Mobilization & National Rural Health Mission (NRHM):

Recognizing the importance of Health in the process of economic and social development and improving the quality of life of our citizens, the Government of India (GoI) launched the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to carry out necessary architectural correction in the basic health care delivery system. Community Mobilization has been made an integral part of the whole intervention. This has been done keeping in mind that community has to be given ownership of the entire programme starting from planning --- designing --- implementation --- monitoring --- evaluation ---- social auditing. Once, community is given stake then it will help the programme in registering “sustainability” of the programme. Past experience says that most of the earlier programmes failed because either community members were not involved in the process of programme implementation or they were kept as passive partner or receiver or programme designing was done at the top without assessing the community need. Thus, many times the services, which were provided and the need of the community did not match and as a result of which people did not take interest for the programme and thus the programme hardly could deliver desired result in its true terms. So, after analyzing the root causes of our earlier failures it has been made compulsory that all the community development interventions must have a core component termed as “community mobilization’.

Aim of the community mobilization is to gain the confidence of the persons/community, for whom the particular programme is meant for. Once, they are taken in to confidence then it is most likely that they will take active part in all the phases of programme implementation from planning ---- designing ---- implementation ---- monitoring ---- evaluation ---- social auditing. Most importantly, their involvement also gives sustainability to the programme in the long run.

The objective of the community mobilization is to see the behavioural change among the persons, with whom the programme is implemented. The community is expected to adopt certain behavioural change considering that the changed behaviour is for their own welfare. The ultimate result of community mobilization should be “Our Resources ……....... Our planning …….….Our future”.

Under NRHM, through the following major schemes, Community Processes is strengthened:

ASHA Program
The Village Health & Sanitation Committee (VH & SC)
Untied fund, provided to Sub Centre & VH & SC, which gives space for public participation
The Rogi Kalyan Samiti / Hospital Management Committee as a vehicle for public participation in facility management and the provisions of untied fund for this purpose
The District Health Societies and the District Health Planning process
The “Community Monitoring Program”
The involvement of NGOs in the Mother NGO program