Transforming Community Health: Motivational Interviewing Training in Rusizi and  Rubavu

Behavior change through counseling is the NICE project’s focus as it continues to help people living in secondary cities.  

The project recently provided Motivational Interviewing (MI) training to Community Health Workers and nutritionists who work closely with mothers in Rusizi and Rubavu districts. This training aims to change social behavior and improve nutrition practices through a conversational approach. 

MI training emphasizes that helping people maintain a healthy diet is not just about providing them with food, but also teaching them about obtaining local produce, proper hygienic food preparation, and understanding food’s nutritional values. It is essential to provide expert guidance and knowledge to people who prepare food, thus ensuring the meal is nutritious, ultimately combating malnutrition and stunting in children. 

This is what NICE commits to do. The NICE project provided MI training to engage people in nutrition and related concerns. The training is a necessary step to reach the larger community through participants’ knowledge-sharing. 

Dative Mukamutako, a Community Health Worker in Rusizi district, was thankful for the MI training, saying that she gained substantial knowledge to share with others.

Participating in Motivational Interviewing training has helped me understand how a person can make a change. I have learnt how to prepare healthy and inexpensive meals. I am going to put the lessons I have learnt into practice and first listen to the person seeking advice, understand their needs, welcome them and avoid judging.

Dative Mukamutako, Community Health Worker Rusizi

Dative Mukamutako a Community Health Worker in Rusizi district who participated in MI training

Mukasonga Cannelle, a nutritionist at Byahi Health Center in Rubavu district, reflected on how the MI training improved her counseling skills. Before the training, she adopted a directive approach by giving orders rather than facilitating dialogue. Through the training, she learned the importance of active listening and involving people in the conversation.

After the training, I changed my approach by asking open questions and actively listening. Consulting is not about giving orders, but about working together to find solutions. The training taught me how to conduct a conversation effectively. I used to ask ‘yes or no’ questions, but now I ask people to provide the information they need to understand their problem. The person’s involvement is evident in our conversation. Together we identify the problem and discuss how to solve it.

Giving advice is not the same as giving orders. The key to effective advice is listening, which is crucial in any conversation with someone seeking help.

Cannelle Mukasonga, Health Center Nutritionist, Rubavu

Through ongoing training and support, the NICE project aims to create sustainable changes that improve the wellbeing and nutrition of the population in secondary cities.