Behavior Change Ambassadors: Controlling Pandemic within their Social Circle

In support of the behavior change campaign promoted by the national COVID-19 Task Force, LeaN On by INVEST DM successfully mobilized 435 caseworkers and networks of LeaN On partners to join the Duta Perubahan Perilaku (Behavior Change Ambassadors) program. The Behaviour Change team of the COVID-19 Task Force trained and inaugurated those volunteers virtually on Friday, 19 February 2021.

Dr. Sonny Harry B. Harmadi, the Head of Behavior Change Division presented the latest data of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia in his opening remarks. Dr. Sonny also elaborated on the national COVID-19 prevention and control strategy, and the roles and duties of Behavior Change Ambassadors as part of the prevention efforts to the volunteers.

Dr. Sonny explained, “Prevention education activities were initially carried out by family planning promoters. This was how we got inspired to create the Behavior Change Ambassador program. There are four duties of the Behavior Change Ambassador including completing the training, be a role model in practicing health protocol compliance, educating the community (to practice the protocols correctly), and reporting the completed behavior change education through an output monitoring application.”

Dr. Sonny Harry B. Harmadi, Head of the Behavior Change Division of the COVID-19 Task Force when giving a speech at the Behavior Change Ambassador training event

The remarks were followed by a refresher session on the significance of the COVID-19 prevention protocols. The trainers then explained the objectives of the behavior change campaign, the workflow of a Behavior Change Ambassador, the behavior change intervention strategies, as well as the reporting mechanism of the behavior change monitoring results. At the end of the session, the trainers emphasized that the Behavior Change Ambassadors are expected to model COVID-19 prevention behaviors in their immediate social circle, which includes family, friends, and their neighborhoods.

Additionally, to achieve the effectiveness of the educational activities carried out by the ambassadors throughout Indonesia, the Task Force has also prepared a behavior change guidebook in 77 local languages and dialects that can be downloaded digitally. Thus, the Behavior Change Ambassadors can use suitable language when educating the communities in their respective regions.

The Q&A session was also enriching. Various questions on the behavior change campaign, coordination mechanism with the task force to vaccinations-related ones were covered in the 40-minute final session.

Dr. Ir. Agus Wibowo, M.Sc. as the Director of Disaster Management Strategy Development (PSPB) of BNPB who is also the convener of LeaN On by INVEST DM wrapped the training by applauding the collaboration between LeaN On and the Behavior Change Division of the COVID-19 Task Force. “Thank you for the collaboration that enriches all of us. We hope the task force gets stronger so we can overcome this pandemic quickly. I also hope the caseworkers have become more enthusiastic after receiving additional knowledge,” said Dr. Agus in his closing remarks.

Some of the Behavior Change Ambassador training participants attended the virtual training activity on Friday, 19 February 2021

As of February 2021, 79,657 Behavior Change Ambassadors have educated more than 48.7 million people throughout Indonesia. The addition of 435 new Behavior Change Ambassadors consisting of LeaN On caseworkers and networks can contribute to expanding the behavior change education that is being carried out, particularly to ensure people with disabilities and other marginalized communities are not left behind.

LeaN On by INVEST DM is an inclusive RCCE program that aims to provide access to risk information and education on COVID-19 prevention, including information on available social protection services, for 165 thousand people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups in seven regions in Indonesia. This program is supported by the American people through USAID, and in partnership with BNPB, Kemenkumham, MAJu (The Asia Foundation) and a consortium of partners consisting of Mercy Corps Indonesia, ASB, ThisAble, Human Initiative and AtmaConnect.

LeaN On by INVEST DM is a USAID funded COVID-19 risk communications & engagement of people with disabilities & vulnerable groups in seven regencies in Indonesia

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