How peer mentorship enhances supervision of community health promoters in Isiolo

Living Goods provides support to the county government of Isiolo, Kenya in various areas, including digital tools and performance management. Living Goods supervisors work together with their peers, the government’s community health assistants (CHA’s), to supervise community health promoters (CHP’s).

This involves in-person supervision of CHPs, training of CHAs, and troubleshooting or guidance on the use of digital tools by visiting households. Kame Ali, a CHA, and Amina Tirfe, a Living Goods peer coach, participate in a mentorship program that has proven to be an effective capacity-building tool. 

Amina Tirfe (left), a Living Goods Peer Coach and Kame Ali (right), a Community Health Assistant, at a Dispensary in Kambi Garba.

Amina Tirfe (left), a Living Goods Peer Coach and Kame Ali (right), a Community Health Assistant, at a Dispensary in Kambi Garba.

What does mentorship entail?  

Kame Ali:  I have been a CHA in Isiolo County for four years. I supervise 17 CHPs in the Kambi Garba community unit, which has just over 1,000 households. We are currently registering new households to the electronic community health information system (eCHIS). 

Living Goods has been instrumental in helping us adopt and use digital tools for community health management. As pioneers in the use of technology in community health, we have greatly benefited from their knowledge and experience. I have been working with Amina Tirfe to improve my capacity to supervise CHPs.  

I consider her my mentor. She guides me on how best to supervise CHPs, and assists me in troubleshooting gadgets, and analyzing the data that CHPs procure from the community. For example, I recently called Amina to seek her guidance on an issue the CHPs were facing on the system while conducting household registration. It was an issue that I could not resolve on my own. She was able to guide me to success. This is the kind of working relationship we have. 

I oversee a team of community health promoters (CHPs) and use digital tools to monitor their activities. Thanks to the training and guidance received from Living Goods, we have started using the electronic Community Health Information System (eCHIS), which has made my work much easier. Previously, when we relied on a manual system, it was a daunting task to supervise 17 CHPs who were visiting over 1000 households.  

eCHIS has improved the integrity of the data collected and eliminated the risk of fake reports. As a supervisor, I use a mobile app to monitor my team’s activities, and I am confident in the work they do. Amina and the entire Living Goods team have been instrumental in helping me acclimatize to the new system and improve my skills as a community health worker. 

Peer Coach Amina Tirfe  

As a peer coach, Amina Tirfe has been with Living Goods since its inception in Isiolo County in 2019. Her role involves coaching and mentoring the CHAs and CHPs on the use of digital tools, utilization of the dashboards, field visits, reporting quality data, in-service training, and maintaining good working relationships with CHPs, CHAs, and county focal persons.  

The brief period when the county reverted to manual reporting caused a slump in our performance, but with the eCHIS, we are back to digital reporting. We have already trained our team on the use of the platform, and we look forward to achieving even better results. 

What is the purpose of this mentorship? 

I mentor Kame, along with other CHAs, to help her better understand and navigate the application and workflows. I also assist her in troubleshooting any technical issues that may arise. Previously, when Living Goods was testing the Smarthealth app as a proof of concept for digitizing community health, they did not fully embrace it.  

Therefore, they left any technical issues entirely to us to sort out. However, eCHIS is now a government platform that is here to stay. As a result, mentorship is essential for Kame to have the knowledge and skills to manage without me or Living Giving.  

We are also building their capacity to embrace all aspects of the new system and make them realize that it is their system and not just an LG tool like before. My goal is to mentor the CHAs to a level where they will no longer need me. I will be the happiest person when they can confidently handle everything by themselves!” 

What is Living Goods role?  

Living Goods works in partnership with governments to recruit, train, mobilize, and manage the performance of community health workers who serve the communities they live in. Supervision is crucial to monitor the quality of services provided, offer technical support, and collect information from the CHWs.  

Living Goods’ supervision process supports, coaches, mentors, assures, and develops the knowledge, skills, and value of the CHWs to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of community health services in their communities. Based on their experience, Living Goods has developed guidelines for community health worker supervision to be shared with partners and stakeholders. 

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