Using Participatory Approaches for Health Systems Strengthening
This project focuses on helping our partners to improve the performance of the health systems where they operate by implementing systems thinking lens and learning cycles. Our approach to supporting change is based on our understanding of the dynamics of such systems. First, that those dynamics are driven by political economy, as well as technical, factors. Second, that while common principles may apply across different systems and contexts, effective approaches emerge through cycles of action and learning that are led by actors within the system.
We are aiming that after participating in the PTSA and its associated cycles of collaborative action and learning, health systems actors will deepen their understanding of the systemic nature of the challenges they face, improve relationships, enhance accountability, and thereby strengthen their effectiveness and overall ability to address complex social challenges.
Our approach involves providing tailored support and facilitation of a Participatory Systems Thinking Approach (PSTA) and associated cycles of collaborative action and learning. This approach builds on a growing consensus about the contribution that problem-driven cycles of action and learning can make to addressing complex challenges that have both political economy and technical aspects, and to improving the governance and functioning of such systems. Our core assumption is that actors works well together, health service delivery improves. When they don’t, it doesn’t.
Our Systems thinking approach has 3 steps:
- Step 1: Identify and understand the problem
- Step 2: Identify and define the solution
- Step 3: Implement, learn and adapt as you go
At first round of workshops in September and November 2021, Ipas Malawi and CSA completed steps 1 and 2 by mapping the stakeholders and underlying root causes of the Sexual Reproductive Health Service delivery problems in their health system context and co-designed with other health system actors some actions/solutions for them to collectively implement, learn and adapt. Following the first round of workshops in 2021, Ipas Malawi , CSA Kenya and their partners in the health system context are currently testing the following actions/solutions:
- Lobbying/campaigning for legal & policy changes through social media, community awareness and sensitization campaigns
- Convening and facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogues
- SRH information dissemination on youth friendly mobile application platforms
- Capacity development (training) of SRH youth champions and health care workers
14 partner institutions based out of the UK, USA, South Africa