To assess factors that motivate Village Health Volunteers (VHVs) to support nutrition intervention in their communities.
We conducted 12 in-depth interviews (IDIs) and 12 focus group discussions (FGDs) with 72 VHVs across four provinces. Three FGDs and three IDIs were assigned per province.
The most commonly cited motivations to become a VHV were: (i) To help the community and/or to improve overall health (all VHV FGDs and 10/12 VHV IDIs); (ii) To learn about health issues (7/12 FGDs and 7/12 IDIs); and (iii) To teach others about health issues (8/12 FGDs and 8/12 IDIs). The most commonly cited motivations to continue working as VHVs were: (i) Seeing improvements in community members’ health and/or desire to see such improvements (10/12 FGDs and all IDIs); and (ii) Increased reputation, influence and leadership status (8/12 FGDs and 9/12 IDIs). 3/12 of the IDI respondents cited financial and other material incentives as a motivation to become VHVs, while 4/12 FGD respondents and 5/12 IDI respondents cited financial and other incentives as a motivation to continue their role as VHVs.
Although it had been previously assumed that VHVs are individuals who wish to donate their time to improve the lives of others in the community, the findings of this study strongly corroborate this assumption. VHVs appear to derive real encouragement and motivation from their role in improving the health and lives of their community members. Nevertheless, financial support was the most frequently suggested form of support to keep VHVs motivated in their roles as VHVs.