FOCUS 1000 (Facilitating and Organizing Communities to Unite for Sustainable Development) http://focus1000.org) is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Sierra Leone that is committed to making the best investment in the most crucial period in a child’s life: the first 1000 days.
We have a team of over 100 staff members with a diverse background cutting across public health, medicine, nutrition, education, social sciences, environmental sciences and accounting. We also have a pool of over 120 young professionals that we have trained on data collection using digital technology. The organisation has a presence in all 14 districts and 149 chiefdoms in Sierra Leone.
We work with a network of over 6000 religious leaders, 10,000 traditional healers, 4,000 market women and 180 community-based organizations across the country. We have also established the Kombra Media Network comprising over 50 media practitioners to enhance the involvement of the media in promoting issues of women and children.
We focus on three intervention areas – promotion of maternal and child nutrition; reduction of teenage pregnancy; and improving the quality/utilization of basic services.
We employ four key strategies for program implementation: Evidence Generation; Advocacy; Community Engagement; and Capacity Development.
Using a community engagement and ownership lens, FOCUS 1000 works with a network of Community-based Organizations (CBOs) including faith-based organizations, women groups, youth groups and social organisations to identify and address unmet needs. By engaging communities as equal partners in program development, implementation and evaluation, we ensure increased uptake of services, strengthened social networks, and sustained community development initiatives.
FOCUS 1000 partners with the Government, UN Agencies, other local and international organizations and faith-based groups to promote simple, cost-effective and high impact interventions that can help build a solid foundation for children to survive, thrive and develop to become productive citizens.
We also work with the media, government institutions and legislative bodies to advocate for relevant policies, increased resources and high-level commitment to advance the issues of children and their families.
FOCUS 1000 has strong expertise in social and public health research. We have undertaken several studies on various issues including Ebola, HIV/AIDS, Nutrition, Malaria, WASH and Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health. These studies were conducted in collaboration with the Government, UN Agencies and other National and International Organizations. The studies provided valuable evidence that were used by the government and partners to inform policies, shape communication strategies and develop relevant and appropriate messages. Also, as part of the Ebola response, FOCUS 1000 led the development of a digital-based data collection system using smartphones.
For the past two years, FOCUS 1000 has been part of the CHANGES Consortium supported by DFID to implement the Saving Lives Project aimed at reducing the high maternal and child mortality in Sierra Leone.
FOCUS 1000 was specifically responsible to support the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to improve the quality of data collection and reporting from health facilities and communities. Through this support, the data collection and reporting system have been transformed from a paper-based to a digital system.
Over the years, our team has developed excellent professional relations and contacts with key Government Ministries, UN Agencies and other international partners working in Sierra Leone. Currently, we are members of the national Health Sector Coordinating Committee (HSCC) and the National Health Sector Steering Committee (HSSG) – highest level decision-making bodies in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. FOCUS 1000 is also the convener for both the National CSO Platform on Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) and the National Platform on Improving Immunization and NHeath System Strengthening.