Community-Driven Program Planning

Wholeness of life in Lwala and Beyond

Community-Driven Program Planning

This past week Lwala Community Alliance held our Community Innovation Summit – the culmination of a 6-week community-driven planning process. We believe that when communities lead, change is drastic and lasting, so we put community members at the forefront of program evaluation, design and implementation.

Community Evaluation – Leading up to our week of annual planning, teams dug into data to discern results and trends, consulted with the community, asking questions tied to our 2020 strategy outcomes. Observations on health-seeking behavior, clinical care, and economic and educational empowerment were recorded and interpreted.

DSC_0214Community Design – These observations guided the design process for future programming. Lwala staff in partnership with community members collaborated to develop new strategies for addressing the stickiest challenges. Lwala staff also conducted literature reviews of peer organizations and academic research to learn about best practices in the field. Based off of the community’s input and key research findings, teams presented their strategic program activities to leadership.


Community Innovation  Throughout the week, leadership critiqued strategies, identifying ten overarching innovation questions. The process culminated on Friday with a Community Innovation Summit, where teams of Lwala staff, Community Health Workers, community members, and representatives from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education worked together to develop compelling solutions. All were encouraged to participate, synthesizing their strategies and presenting to other participants through artwork and skits.

Questions included: How might we make condoms more widely accessible? How might we achieve 100% WASH compliance? How might we reinvigorate community management committees?

Community Implementation – Moving forward, Lwala will continuously unlock the potential of community members by putting them at the forefront of driving solutions that work in the context that they understand so well. Building off their innovations, teams are designing future programs that shift implementation to the community level. At Lwala we seek to prove that this type of bottom-up innovation is uniquely positioned to effect systemic change.