Posted: October 5th, 2016
Health professionals institute a program to reduce the incidence of waterborne illnesses. This program provides free shoes to children in a region of a Central American country to protect their feet from contaminated soil. Assuming that the citizens of the small rural town are too poor to afford shoes, the organization is surprised to find that only a handful of parents come to take advantage of the offer of new shoes. After the program fails to reach its target results or audience, the health professionals find out from local community leaders that the wearing of shoes is not customary among those in that particular neighborhood. The failure of the program was attributable largely to the local culture, rather than to economics as initially had been assumed. The community leaders urge the health professionals to communicate with the village council, who, although not involved in the daily health decisions of the people who live there, do influence all aspects of town life, including the schools and regulations related to the water supply. The health professionals realize that these council members are the “gatekeepers” who have the power over future research related to waterborne illnesses.
What might have happened if evaluation had been built into this program design from the beginning? What might the health professionals have learned by involving the people whose health was at stake? Of the people to be involved, who are the primary gatekeepers and how might they be involved for research to be effective?
This week you explore the role of formative evaluation in program planning and implementation. In addition, you evaluate the involvement of stakeholders and gatekeepers in formative evaluation and explore steps in community intervention.
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