Effective communication with communities in conflict areas is key for successful intervention and behavior change on the frontlines. The Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP) at the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) in the American University of Beirut (AUB) organized in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Syria, a training workshop on "Communication for Behavior Change".
As part of the "Back to Learning" initiative, the workshop focused on building the capacities of a team of trainers to enable them to train frontline workers of UNICEF partners in Syria. The workshop was held from 23 to 27 July 2018, in Rotana Gefinor Hotel, Beirut and was attended by 14 participants coming from different NGOs working with vulnerable and affected communities in Syria under the "Back to Learning" initiative. The main goal of this workshop was to build a team of trainers capable of training other frontline workers on communicating effectively with the communities they serve, thus ensuring effective delivery of the activities within the “Back to Learning" initiative.
The main themes addressed over the five-day course included: Ecological Model and barrier to education in Syria; Overview of the current educational pathways; Facilitation skills and adult learning techniques; Fieldworker characteristics; GATHER (Greet, Ask, Tell, Help, Explain, and Return) framework; and Interpersonal Communication skills.
The training approach adopted during the workshop incorporated adult learning principles and interactive learning. This training also offered participants with the opportunity to observe, discuss, and demonstrate acquired skills through simulation activities.
Commenting about the next steps, UNICEF Officer Ahmad Tohmeh, said that "following this training, the attendants will transfer the technical skills and knowledge acquired during this event to their staff and volunteers for them to apply it directly on the field, with close follow-up from UNICEF." "The practicality of this training was truly unique", he added.
Through its diverse projects and initiatives, FHS' CPHP advances evidence-based public health practice in Lebanon and the region while enhancing the academic experience of students and faculty. It builds solid community partnerships and develops human capabilities to impact the health of populations. The Center nurtures the culture of collective responsibility, diversity, and social justice. CPHP works closely with different local, national, regional, and international entities including but not limited to academic institutions, hospitals, UN agencies, NGOs, ministries and governmental agencies, professional a associations, municipalities, and local communities in Lebanon and across the Arab World.