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Participatory approaches, local stakeholders and cultural relevance facilitate an impactful community-based project in Uganda
Abstract Sanitation is a major global challenge that is often addressed at national and international levels, while community opinions and beliefs are neglected. To promote water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) we organized a cross-cultural knowledge exchange workshop to assess participatory methods for engaging local stakeholders. The workshop included 22 participants from all sectors of society. Practical solutions to sanitation challenges were identified and later shared with a local community. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were used to assess impact and showed participatory methods were highly valued to encourage information sharing among widely varied stakeholders, and that video was a particularly successful approach when engaging with local communities. An 8-month follow-up survey of village members revealed excellent information recall, positive behaviour changes and a desire for future visits. Our evidence suggests that community-based participation helped identify solutions to WASH issues affecting rural communities in resource-poor settings. Engaging in a multicultural knowledge-share was particularly valuable as it enabled participants to recognize they have common challenges and allowed them to share low-cost solutions from their different communities. Our use of video was widely viewed as an ideal means of circulating findings, as it communicated information to people with a wide variety of community roles and to all age groups. Its relevance was increased by adopting a culturally appropriate context by involving local communities in workshop activities. We recommend that research in low- and middle-income countries should be mindful of the environmental context in which WASH is implemented, and encourage acceptance by engaging with communities through the use of varied participatory methods.
Year of Publication
Health Promotion International
Number of Pages