Health Communication Partnership (HCP)

Field Placement: Health Communication Partnership (HCP)
Location: Kampala, Uganda
Student Name: Star Banks
Year: 2008
From June to September 2008, I conducted my field studies requirement in Kampala,
Uganda at the Health Communication Partnership (HCP). I was placed in a project that
HCP gives technical assistance to as well as funds (through USAID and PEPFAR)
called Young Empowered and Healthy (YEAH). The YEAH initiative aims to reduce
HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy rates among Ugandan youth 15-24 years old. They
utilize entertainment education to reach youth and initiate changes in knowledge,
attitude, and behavior that will reduce their vulnerability to HIV and early pregnancy.
Various communication channels are used to disseminate the messages of YEAH, most
notably a radio serial drama entitled Rock Point 256. Further, YEAH produces posters,
comic books, and DVDs that are used by partnering organizations to spark dialogue
among in- and out-of-school youth during interpersonal activities.
During my 10-week internship, the opportunities afforded to me far exceeded my initial
expectations. As part of my scope of work, I was asked to plan and facilitate a weeklong workshop with the goal of developing concepts and illustration ideas for materials
for a new campaign targeting young men. This included mobilizing participants and four
focus groups, preparing creative briefs and communication strategies, leading workshop
activities, and conducting follow-up meetings to finalize materials. I also took on a
supervisory role for monitoring the activities of our 15 partnering community-based
organizations in the Kampala region that utilize YEAH materials and messages. The
assignment allowed me to travel all over the Kampala region inquiring about partnering
organizations’ successes, challenges, and future plans. The goal of the monitoring was
to improve reporting methods as well as strengthen the relationship between YEAH and
local partners. Furthermore, I was given the opportunity to contribute to the scripting
and theoretical base of the Rock Point 256 serial drama and comic books; participate in
a strategy workshop as well as a work planning and budgeting workshop; plan and
develop materials for the “The Rocks”, a Rock Point 256 awards ceremony; exhibit
YEAH materials during World Population Day 2008; and write and edit several quarterly
Working with YEAH greatly increased my understanding of the materials development
process, funding and partnering relationships, organizational structures, and program
planning. Additionally, I realized how difficult it is to challenge the social and cultural
norms surrounding reproductive health and sexuality in Uganda, which is integral to
reducing HIV prevalence rates. Most importantly, however, the experience allowed me
to experience the rewards and challenges of working in a developing country and
specifically, Sub-Saharan Africa.
Field Placement: Health Communication Partnership Zambia
Location: Lusaka, Zambia
Preceptor: Uttara Bharath Kumar
Student Name: Elissa Bradley
Year: 2007
Health Communication Partnership Zambia (HCP) is a five-year project funded by the
United States Agency for International Development. It is overseen by the Johns
Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs.
The majority of this field studies project took place at the HCP office in the Zambian
capitol city of Lusaka. Work was conducted under the supervision of Uttara Bharath
Kumar, Deputy Chief of Party of HCP Zambia. Work on this project began in
September of 2007 and ended in April of 2008.
The field work included researching, developing, and communicating health messages
to Zambians living in both rural settings and copper-mining cities. This is the bulk of
what HCP Zambia aims to do.
I have been involved in researching and writing a concept paper intended for the
Zambia National AIDS Council on multiple concurrent sexual partnerships and their role
in HIV transmission among Zambians. I helped organize and carry out a two-day
conference on the roll out of a national pediatric antiretroviral therapy program for HIVpositive or HIV-exposed youth, which brought together Zambian community leaders,
Zambian and international health experts, and behavior change communication
strategists. I also helped organize and facilitate the launch events associated with “Our
Family, Our Choice”, a film about HIV-positive individuals and family planning that
follows three real Zambian couples through the family-planning process.
Skills gained include: the ability to foster community collaboration to help develop and
harmonize health messages; research skills, particularly in Sub-Saharan African health
issues and policies; writing and editing of proposals and other documents; and working
on health communication and promotion in a new setting in a developing country.
I also represented HCP at numerous meetings, events, and conferences. I
communicated HCP work to representatives of the National AIDS Council and to both
health care and general communities. After returning to UCLA after about eight weeks
of work in Zambia, I followed through on some of the projects I worked on while there
via email.