Funding community initiatives to overcome barriers to accessing services: the MAMaZ social fund experience. MAMaZ

Authors: Health Partners International
Document Type: Policy and technical briefs
Publication Date: 2013

The UK aid funded Mobilising Access to Maternal Health Services in Zambia programme (MAMaZ) was set up in 2010 to test and validate implementation models to increase demand for and access to maternal and newborn health (MNH) services. One component of the MAMaZ approach was a Social Fund which assisted communities to implement their own initiatives to improve access to MNH services. Managed by District Health Management Teams (DHMT) in six districts, the Social Fund provided small grants for community-led projects and ‘top-up funds’ for community maternal health savings schemes. This technical brief provides an overview of the Social Fund and explores the impact that it had on maternal health. Whilst the amounts provided were small, they made a tangible contribution to enabling access to maternal health services, and also motivated and reinforced the work of community health volunteers who were leading the change process at community level. By providing a communal as opposed to an individual incentive the Social Fund helped build social capital and cohesion. The Fund proved to be relatively low cost to administer, and helped build DHMT capacity for grant management and administration.

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Tags: Zambia, MAMaZ, Newborn health, Maternal health, Community engagement, Emergency Transport Scheme, Access to health services, Health care financing, Public financial management, Health systems strengthening,