In 2007 WHO sponsored a team from Johns Hopkins University to come to develop capacity in Kiribati for 2 weeks to work with the Health Promotion Unit. The focus of the workshop was behaviour change communication using water, hygiene and sanitation as an entry point. The workshop was a great success with 17 participants learning about using conceptual frameworks for improving behaviours, using a strategic planning model to design, carry out and monitor participatory behaviour change communication, conducting formative research with community groups in 2 villages on South Tarawa and then using this information to draft a Plan of Action for water, hygiene and sanitation needs.
The Health Promotion Unit has since been using these behaviour change communication and formative research skills for other programme areas as well, including avian influenza and child health. In 2008 WHO will further support this focus on behaviour change communication by funding a follow up workshop to strengthen the design and implementation of initiatives based on the insights and needs identified through formative research.