A community dialogue meeting is a way for members of the community to come together and discuss important issues. Outreach is an important part of any advocates’ work and community dialogue meetings promote discussion of important issues, problems and successful events in the community where community members indulge themselves in dialogue and reach to the grass root level of problem identification heading to talk about solutions among themselves.
Community Dialogue Meeting (CDM) provides the opportunity for those who often do not have a voice in their community, to have their opinions and needs heard – by their community, CBOs/NGOs/UN and government agencies. It makes it easier for communities to identify their own goals and objectives, design and implement their own plans and community-based activities; as well as creating community capacity to address barriers, learn from successes, and ensure support to the most vulnerable within the community. Also CDM identifies and creates linkages of communication between communities, districts, provinces and national levels by providing all stakeholders with qualitative information about community knowledge, perceptions and practices concerning specific issues. This information can supplement existing data, or act as a base for formative baseline data. CDM acknowledges existing community-based mechanisms that have been successfully utilized in the past, and by identifying those mechanisms, communities can overcome a sense of fatalism and dependency, and become empowered to use existing resources to compliment existing external resources, in creating solutions to their most pressing problems.
Ipas Nepal organized four days orientation on Community Dialogue Meeting for its peer leaders of Kailali and Rupandehi districts. The main objectives of the orientation is to provide skills to peer leaders to conduct community dialogue meeting on safe abortion and other SRHR issues in their own community. The orientation talked about Social behavior Change Communication, difference between IEC, BCC and SBCC, facilitation skills, Right based approach, flower of participation, CDM introduction and preparing CDM questionnaires. The peer leaders were trained on facilitating CDM in their community and were assigned to prepare questionnaires for conducting CDM. The CDM questionnaires is only a guideline. Also the questions were field tested in one of the youth information forum in Bhaktapur which went really well. The training was participatory.