JSI RESOURCES: Publications

Madagascar Technical Brief – Model and Mentor Families: Agents of Change for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health


Families that adopt new health behaviors effectively and confidently can play a critical role in promoting community
health. As the family successfully adopts each new action, they see that they can be the primary agents of improved household health and well-being. Fostering the emergence and growth of such families is an important element of many social and behavior change (SBC) programs. With technical input from Program partner FHI 360, the USAID Community Capacity for Health Program identified the Model and Mentor Families (MMF) approach as an important component of its SBC strategy.

MMF is streamlined, easy-to-use, and encourages a shift from focusing on overcoming obstacles and barriers toward emphasizing and building on existing strengths and achievements. The approach has previously been implemented with success by communities in Ethiopia, Burundi, and Kenya. Over the course of the USAID Community Capacity for Health Program, more than 352,000 households earned Model Family status, and close to 181,000 subsequently became Mentor Families. During its final year, the Program conducted a qualitative study to better understand how MMF supported larger Program objectives and to identify which elements were most important in contributing to desired SBC.

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