Problems within the health systems that lead to poor outcomes are complex, multifaceted, and differ across contexts, countries, and even communities. Systems thinking approaches have great potential to address these deeply embedded challenges and the technical, political, economic, and social causes that underlie them. However, systems thinking has traditionally been designed and tested with academic partners and with significant resources, without adaptation to engage with civil society and grassroots organizations.

In this report, we share findings from a developmental evaluation that analyzed a participatory systems thinking approach that differs from traditional approaches in three core ways: (1) it is led by domestic civil society organization partners rather than academics or international partners, (2) it is time-constrained to under twelve months, and (3) it does not include outside resources for partners to undertake actions designed as part of the systems thinking process.

Working with partners in Malawi and Kenya, we found that a systems thinking approach can be adapted to be more participatory and to achieve several critical outcomes, including increasing stakeholder understanding of root causes, supporting more diverse and stronger alliances among stakeholders, increasing collaboration on collective action, and increasing adaptation of actions.

The recommendations and questions in this report can serve as guidance for those seeking to support or undertake similar initiatives in the future and reveal adaptations to the model that we believe are worth testing in subsequent iterations of the model. Explore the full report below or download it here).

This project was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 



Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?
Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab