Kenya Project Briefs

Local Innovation Scaled through Enterprise Networks (LISTEN)

Significant progress has been made in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years to scale up HIV testing and provision of antiretroviral therapy. However, HIV remains high in vulnerable populations such as adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and key populations, and the youth bulge in many of the countries threatens gains made. This is further compounded by persistent challenges in reaching the most marginalized populations with both prevention and treatment services.

Controlling the spread of HIV requires appropriate demand for and effective delivery of a package of services that meet the needs of vulnerable populations and reflects an understanding of the many micro-epidemics that exist, the drivers of each of those epidemics, and the respective interventions most likely to have the greatest impact. Communities are an important resource that can help to ensure that services are relevant to, and reach, the people who need them most.

The Local Innovations Scaled through Enterprise Networks (LISTEN) process under which the Center for Global Health Practice and Impact provides technical assistance integrates the community into the design and testing of solutions to reach at-risk populations that are currently not being reached with conventional strategies. It also facilitates expanding engagement at the community level, and supporting linkages to the formal health system and to decision-makers throughout the system up to sub-national and national political leaders.

The LISTEN process employs human-centered design (HCD) methods that involve members of high-risk, low-service engagement target populations, and the people and places in their lives. This is done to identify alternative ways to successfully engage these populations with HIV prevention services.

The primary pillars of LISTEN are:

  • Communities of practice that are linked horizontally and vertically
  • Data and metrics of impact that are relevant to each community of practice
  • Human-centered design that acts as the glue for the process

LISTEN conceptualizes a community of practice (CP) as a group of people organized around a key purpose (e.g., health, economic empowerment, public safety, etc.) and a delivery point (any interface between the supply and demand of those services). In the LISTEN process, trained facilitators work with identified groups and organizations to adopt and employ a CP process for continuous improvement. LISTEN strengthens and empowers already established and new CP to use HCD and data for greater impact in addressing their priorities, and HIV prevention.

The project objectives are to:

  • Establish LISTEN as a platform for sustainable community engagement 
  • Apply LISTEN to systematize local reach and innovation for HIV prevention 
  • Use LISTEN as a platform to introduce new technologies for HIV prevention 

With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, LISTEN is currently being implemented in Kenya in partnership with the National Aids Control Council (NACC) and in Eswatini in partnership with the Eswatini Ministry of Health.

With funding from PEPFAR/CDC, the LISTEN process is also being applied in HIV care and treatment programs in Eswatini, Haiti and Cameroon.