Selected from their respective settlements, female volunteers have been trained to work as "change agents" in the community and are responsible for house-to-house mobilisation for polio and routine immunisation. They have started to identify and characterise chronically missed children and non-compliant parents through a community-friendly approach. Initially including the states of Kano, Kebbi, and Sokoto, the initiative is expanding to Zamfara, Jigawa, Katsina, Yobe, and Borno. The goal is to contribute to reducing the percentage of children missed by the oral polio vaccine (OPV) through targeted communication interventions house-to-house to generate demand for and acceptance of OPV.

Communication Strategies: 

In total, over 2,150 settlement-level volunteer mobilisers - all women - were recruited, trained, and deployed in the settlements where missed children and OPV refusals are still persistent. Interpersonal counselling on immunisation and promotion of key households practices such as treatment of diarrhoea, prevention of malaria, and breastfeeding form the core of the volunteers' work. A Volunteer Community Mobilizer is asked to:

  • List all households within/scattered around her settlement
  • Be responsible for identifying, tracking, and engaging families classified as noncompliant
  • With help of pictorial flipbook, conduct interpersonal communication (IPC) with mothers to convey health education on vaccine-preventable diseases, maternal health, hygiene, and threat of polio
  • Prior to Immunization Plus Days (IPDs), conduct house-to-house visits and engage mothers on polio immunisation
  • Ensure that during IPDs and campaigns, all households are visited in the settlement and support re-do and revisit teams
  • Provide necessary support to social mobilisation activities
  • Collect data on the provided monitoring checklists and share with ward-level volunteer supervisors
  • Ensure vaccination of all missed children within her settlement during each round

In 2013, the programme will be scaled up; the final number of mobilisers will be 7,000.

Development Issues: 

Immunisation and Vaccines.

Partner Text: 

National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) partners - with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


"Volunteer Community Mobilizer Network Nigeria Monthly Update", Issue 01, May 2012 - sent from Lalaina Fatratra Andriamasinoro to The Communication Initiative on June 7 2012; and email from Naureen Naqvi to The Communication Initiative on February 14 2013.