Women Ambassadors for Vaccine Education (WAVE)
WAVE will empower women advocates to engage their communities and change social norms around vaccinations.
Describe what you intend to do and how you'll do it in one sentence (required 250 Characters)
WAVE personnel will be trained as points of contact for mobile units and equipped with knowledge about the who, what, where, when, and how of vaccines.
Explain the idea (less than 2,000 characters)
WAVE wants to motivate women, the primary caregivers, to seek out and fully utilize vaccination opportunities by making them part of the process, and therefore, the solution. A handful of women from each community will be trained on information about vaccines using color-coded calendars and pamphlets to make them a subject matter expert in their communities. They will act as a point person for mobile clinics, coordinating within their community leading up to a visit and assisting during arrival. We predict that interacting with a trusted community member at the site will help to create better associations with medical doctors.
Fears and lack of knowledge about vaccines, as well as logistical difficulties getting to clinics or knowing about EPI sessions are major reasons that people do not get vaccinated. This is especially true for rural areas. An example is that of Uganda where only 55% of children aged 12-23 months are estimated to be fully vaccinated and coverage is higher in urban areas where 60% of the population resides (Malande, 2019). Our goal is to empower women in such areas to share their knowledge with others, thereby reducing misconceptions around vaccines. In addition, better coordination and communication about impending mobile visits can decrease reasons for missed vaccinations tied to a lack of awareness.
WAVE will accomplish this by providing access to education and thus empowering women who will now have job opportunities that might not otherwise be available to them. We will start by looking at women who are trusted and influential in their community around the ages of 18-40. WAVE will work with an NGO or CSO to provide them education and compensation (for training days, assistance at the mobile clinic). WAVE would also encourage adolescent girls to act as volunteers to build vaccination knowledge in those who are future mothers and leaders.
Which part(s) of the world does this idea target?
Who are your end users and how well do you know them? (750 characters)
Our end users are primary caregivers within the community. These are typically mothers who may not be aware or fully educated about vaccines with regards to immunization requirements, scheduling and details, the impact of complete vaccinations, and how to get vaccinated. They are part of the same social circle as the ambassador and trust them as their social peer and a familiar community member. This, we hope, will enable a more open and intimate discussion around vaccination, and a better chance for the information and training that was given to the ambassador to resonate with the end user.
How is the idea unique? (750 Characters)
Our idea focuses on community and women empowerment as tools for change. WAVE will leverage existing structures by working with organizations that schedule and run mobile clinics. In addition, we will recruit individuals who are already trusted and respected in their social structures and educate them using a curriculum that is accessible to those with low literacy rates. Recruits will serve multiple roles as advisors and educators in their communities, assistants and recordkeepers for the mobile clinics, and a point of contact and coordination between the two. We believe that by empowering women through education and job opportunities, they can be a valuable source of access into the engagement and motivation of the entire community.
Idea Proposal Stage (Select 1)
Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.
How many months are required for the project idea? (140 characters)
We estimate baseline research and hiring to take 6 months, training to be 1-3 months, and implementation and evaluation to take 18 months.
Organization Location (less than 140 Characters)
New York City, NY, USA
Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (750 characters)
Although we do not as yet have a partner organization, we envision working alongside a group, such as the Youth Environment Service mentioned by Ochola Amosiah (https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/briefsgates-vaccine-innovation/ideas/promoting-community-capacity-in-immunization-governance), that has experience in engaging with the community over social issues to recruit and train our WAVE ambassadors.
How many people are on your team?
Tell us more about you and your team
We are a group of five NYU students, from disciplines ranging from psychology to engineering, participating in this challenge as a part of our Design Thinking and Creative Problem Solving class.