Stories from the Ground: Facilitating Community Engagement to Strengthen Evaluation in Public Health

Sambodhi > Development > Stories from the Ground: Facilitating Community Engagement to Strengthen Evaluation in Public Health

Stories from the Ground: Facilitating Community Engagement to Strengthen Evaluation in Public Health



Date & Time

August 18, 2023 04:30 PM - 05:30 PM

Addressing complex public health issues requires engaging with the people most affected by them. However, public health systems rarely use this participatory approach because of a lack of confidence in its implementation. Either that or because of the dictatorial influence funding exerts on the use of traditional structure approaches, which are neither developed locally nor relevant to the local context.

However, we believe that engaging with the stakeholders using stories can help assess complex constructs such as individual, community, and institutional norms to help develop interventions that aim to change such norms. This can be done by demonstrating emerging evidence as well as the benefits of incorporating evidence into design, implementation, and sustainability.

To that end, we are organizing a webinar to present our experiences and learnings related to facilitating community engagement and participation to improve public health facilities and strengthen evaluation practices. Furthermore, we will also explore how evaluation professionals can engage with communities in the process to ensure meaningful and effective results.

We will use examples from different contexts, including South Asia and Africa, to demonstrate the potential of a participatory approach in the public health sector to improve awareness about a variety of topics, some of which are as follows:

  • Applying a participatory approach to improve Respectful Maternity Care at public health facilities in India

Here, we will assess individual norms (health service provider level) and institutional norms (public health facility level) around the provision of respectful maternity care, with additional information on how we used this approach to assess community norms around the demand for the same.

  • Unpacking the roles of evaluation professionals in mainstreaming marginalized voices

In evaluation processes, participants are considered co-partners, where their lived experience and capacity are respected and valued. Additionally, we are also aware of the strong connection, power relationships between the evaluator and the local people and power dynamics within the local people. Here, we will share our experience of facilitating communities and NGOs in participatory evaluation and participatory action research in Asia, Europe, and Africa, with insights on facilitating transforming power dynamics.

  • Using visual stories to enable aural capabilities in evaluation processes

Storytelling is a critical part of African cultures, which is why narrative approaches are widely used in evaluation. Stories invite greater participation and bring to light voices that are often sidelined. Visual methods also alleviate the restrictions posed by using only verbal means. We will focus on the use of visual stories in evaluation, with a focus on how they can enable aural capabilities in evaluation processes.

Created for professionals interested or involved in research and evaluation in public health practice across South Asia and Africa, the webinar will focus on the need, know-how, and practical case studies of participatory evaluation in the sector.