FEATURE STORY

Kore Fanmi: Improving Social Coverage for 15,000 Vulnerable Families

June 20, 2013

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 15,000 vulnerable families have increased access to basic services in the Centre department.
  • Community social workers have a central role in this new methodology.
  • Coordination between the Haitian Government, international agencies, and nongovernmental organizations is facilitating the coordinated and decentralized delivery of social services.

Exhausted, but with a smile on her face and surrounded by her children, Ms. Christophe looks at her two-week old baby girl as she breastfeeds her, while talking with Collin, a community social worker who visits her on a regular basis.

He inquires about the baby’s health, and insists that she get a post-natal check-up as she did not give birth in a hospital. He ensures that she remembers how to treat the water before asking her about the benefits of breast milk.

Ms. Christophe immediately responds: “Breast milk provides nourishment for the baby and this is what the baby needs to grow.”  Collin agrees wholeheartedly and begins to explain to her the best position to breastfeed, amid fits of giggles.

Collin is one of the community social workers who are providing assistance to some 15,000 families in three communes (Boucan Carré, Saut d’Eau, and Thomassique) in the Centre department.

Improving access to basic services

The Community Social Worker Initiative (KORE FANMI) is a pilot program of the Haitian Government, which is being implemented by the Economic and Social Assistance Fund (FAES).

It was established with World Bank financing in partnership with a number of United Nations agencies such as UNICEF.

As part of a national social protection strategy, this program seeks to harmonize and improve the provision of basic services to poor and vulnerable families, such as access to education, vaccines, and latrines, with a view to moving away from a national fragmented and unequal system to one of systematic coverage focusing on the rights and needs of families, as indicated on the program’s website.

Open Quotes

This is a social protection program where a model is tested to determine if sectors workers can be transformed into social workers. Close Quotes

Dr. Germanite Phanord

Dr. Germanite Phanord, the project’s manager at FAES, explains: “This is a social protection program where a model is tested to determine if sectors workers can be transformed into social workers. This worker can identify the various problems relating to education, health, agriculture, etc., facing a family. Each worker is responsible for about 100 families for which he or she must prepare a plan covering a specific period. The plan focuses on 28 life goals, such as, “the family must use latrines.” Each family has a certain number of goals, based on its own specific needs, which must be achieved.”

Committed to serving his community

Families are classified based on their level of vulnerability, and the activities, medicines, or food provisions provided are tailored to meet their needs. The community workers make it easier for these families to gain access to a range of social services and provide them with important information to help them improve their living conditions. 

Assisted by a commune-level team of supervisors, including social workers and nurses, the community workers also derive benefit from the central information system that stores all the program’s activities and facilitates monitoring of the families’ progress.

Collin got involved in this initiative because he wanted to serve the community and watch its transformation. His job is not an easy one. He is responsible for 105 families, and conducts, among other activities, 32 home visits each month, 10 neighborhood meetings, and a community meeting.

Since his arrival, he has seen attitudes change gradually: “Many people are now using family planning. Many did not want to drink the treated water. We sat and talked with them and now they are drinking the treated water.” By making appeals to schools and more well-off individuals, they were able to place some 35 children in school this year.  “The hard part,” he adds, “is that we cannot help the families with the greatest need.”

Support for maternal and child health

Kore Fanmi also seeks to improve public administration and work with international agencies and nongovernmental organizations to adopt a common operational strategy for the coordinated and decentralized delivery of basic services.

This interorganizational coordination allows Collin to refer, when required, a vulnerable family that he is supervising to the relevant medical, food, or social programs offered by the various organizations operating in his commune.

In line with the Government’s objectives, the World Bank recently approved the Improving Maternal and Child Health through Integrated Social Services Project in the amount of US$70 million to increase access and use of maternal and child health, nutrition, and other social services in at least three departments: Ouest, Nord-Est, and Plateau Central.

The project, which is being co-financed by a US$20 million grant from the Multidonor Trust Fund for Health Results Innovation, will benefit 1.8 million people, targeting pregnant women, children under five, and vulnerable families.  The Kore Fanmi community workers are stakeholders in this program.