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 Men’s Club is one of the interventions developed under SAHAN. Men are key decision makers but rarely discuss maternal and child health issues. The intervention introduced these topics through carefully designed activities in locations where men gather socially. For men requiring care for their families, referral cards were issued to track uptake of health services. Between a quarter and half of men who attended the Men’s club sessions were issued with referral cards, with approximately 60% using the referral to access health services for their family members. 84% of post pilot evaluation study participants reported to have initiated discussions with their wives on health topics discussed during the men’s club discussions.