From Opposition to Champions of Maternal and Neonatal Health: A Project in Transformational Leadership Amongst Islamic Opinion Leaders in Northern Nigeria
This project confronts the barriers to maternal and neo-natal health constructed and maintained by some community and religious leaders (CRLs) in six states of Nigeria. CRLs provide the ideology, messages and personal life examples which counter the myriad maternal and neonatal health interventions in this region. Previous interventions avoided resistant CRLs, engaging only liberal scholars in one-off events such as workshops. This has failed to bring down the barriers and the death rates persist. This project targets 180 of the most conservative CRLs in 3 states in zone with the highest rates. Using an innovative multi-stage leadership development model, we will train CRLs, support them to attend a study tour in Egypt, facilitate a process by which they use internet and GSM technologies to host community dialogues with Egyptian scholars participating via video link to reinforce correct messages, and convene step-down trainings for lower level CRLs.