SAHAN was the demand creation component of FCDO’s Somali Health and Nutrition Programme (SHINE). SAHAN was the first large-scale, dedicated demand-creation for health programme in Somalia. Unlike typical development projects with pre-determined activities and interventions, this programme aimed to first gain a deeper understanding of the primary target audience and the influential human actors surrounding her. The overarching programme approach used an evidence-based, participatory design to better understand the persistent barriers to uptake of health services and healthy seeking behaviour and develop and test innovations in demand creation that target the external factors in a person’s life that influence individual behaviour. The aim of the programme was to develop and pilot a set of interventions, which, when scaled, would have the potential to improve health service uptake and promote healthy behaviours of Somali women and children under five.
The Hiil Hooyo Poetry Competition is one of the interventions developed under SAHAN. The competition was conducted through social media leveraging on the importance of poetry as a medium to communicate on health issues within the Somali community. During the pilot period, the competition’s Facebook page had a following of more than 8,000 people and its posts had more than 3,000 engagements (reactions, comments, shares etc.). The page also reached more than 45,000 unique Facebook users during the pilot period.